Credit Policy & Regulation

OCC review whistleblower


Adam Levitin predicted here that the "independent" review of banks' foreclosure files ordered by the OCC in the wake of the robosigning scandals would be a sham, based among other things on the adverts to hire the reviewers.  Now, one apparently overqualified reviewer has told his


What I Love about

12/08/12 is the on-line microlending network that
allows anyone to lend $25 or more to individual low-income borrowers around the
world for micro-enterprise and housing.  
Kiva is an entirely different way of thinking about credit and financial


CFPB's Anti-Abuse Authority: A Promising Development in Substantive Consumer Protection


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is doing something promising with its anti-abuse authority under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  It is going after credit industry exploitation of consumers, particularly when business models involve using confusing terms that disclosure cannot adequately address.  See my paper on this topic. So I was not surprised to see George Will attacking this development.   We can't have smart, effective consumer protec


I have been working for a few years in developing and creating a consumer outreach website at  The site is purely non-profit and has no sponsors or advertisers. It aims to simply provide consumers with “consumer tips” that change each day, independent summaries regarding debt-related and other consumer rights, quizzes and polls regarding such issues, and other consumer protection resources. It is user-friendly and interactive.

Protecting Public Rights


Contracts professors, policymakers, consumer groups and others have become particularly interested in another post-AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion case.
 The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently agreed to an en banc rehearing
of Kilgore v. Keybank, 673 F.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2012).


Mortgage Market 2011 - Not a Pretty Picture


The annual Federal Reserve report on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for 2011 paints a bleak picture.  Despite interest rates at or below 4%,
mortgage lending volume continued its four-year decline.  The drop in mortgage lending was
particularly steep for minority home buyers, and in distressed neighborhoods.  More than 40% of home purchase loans that were made were backed by government (FHA or VA) insurance. 
Overall mortgage denial rates were 31% for black ap


In Defense of Bankruptcy Courts (or, Is Bankruptcy Really That Exceptional?)


Although not always acknowledged expressly, exceptionalism is pervasive in bankruptcy scholarship. Some work makes no attempt to contexualize bankruptcy within the federal courts, apparently assuming its unique qualities (for example, the disinterest in most bankruptcy venue scholarship about venue laws applicable to other multi-party federal litigation). But other projects are more deliberate in their exceptionalist pursuits.


New Frontiers in Systemic Risk


My oldest leaves for college in the morning. Yesterday, we were talking to him about his new bank account and how to use it responsibly to avoid overdrafts, fees, and such. The conversation gave me a new factor to consider in assessing the amount of systemic risk: the number of 18-year old boys with checkbooks.


Overspending in India


Check out this story in the New York Times about free-wheeling consumer credit in India. Much of the article focuses on how Indians are using consumer credit to pay for cosmetic surgery. At one point, I had a collection of online advertisements offering Americans easy credit for different types of cosmetic surgery, but that was several universities ago.


Arbitration Unconscionability Post-Concepcion


My Georgetown colleague Rebecca Tushnet has a great post about a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling, Brewer v. Missouri Title Loans, holding that an arbitration agreement in an auto title loan was unconscionable.  The case is important because it says that post-AT&T v. Concepcion arbitration agreements are still vulnerable to attack on generally applicable contract law grounds.