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Consumer Financial Services Answer Book (2016 Edition)

Author(s): Richard E. Gottlieb, Thomas M. Hanson, Arthur B. Axelson,
Practice Area: Banking and finance, Consumer finance, Financial services
Date: Oct 2015 i Other versions can be found in the Related Items tab.
ISBN: 9781402424908
PLI Item #: 138289
The completely updated Consumer Financial Services Answer Book,written in a clear and accessible Q&A format, provides the practical guidance needed to fully understand these major changes and the latest developments in this ever-evolving field of law. Authored and edited by more than fifty legal authorities with broad and deep combined experience in consumer financial services matters, this treatise is intended for both the seasoned practitioner as well as those just entering the world of consumer finance.

As in prior years, the CFPB has been extraordinarily active, promulgating new rules, conducting numerous enforcement actions, filing amicus briefs, and otherwise letting its positions be known in informal guidance, speeches, and blogs. Changes in mortgage lending are a lead story: the completely updated Truth in Lending Act chapter includes extensive coverage and guidance on the new mortgage disclosures required by the CFPB’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (or “TRID”) rule, which took effect in October 2015.

Much more has changed since the editors conceived the Consumer Financial Services Answer Book during the last decade’s financial crisis. Key changes include the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), enactment of innumerable other laws affecting consumer financial services, and a wholesale reboot of how government entities regulate the providers of those services.

Any one of these changes would constitute a significant change to the consumer financial services industry; taken as a whole, they have fundamentally altered the business of consumer financial services in the United States.

For the 2016 edition, the authors have updated each of the chapters affecting the industry, including those devoted to the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Moreover, the Consumer Financial Services Answer Book includes chapters (all updated) on fair lending, federal preemption, mortgage loan servicing, unfair and deceptive acts and practices laws, consumer automotive finance law, the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, state licensing, consumer bankruptcy, and privacy. In a further expansion of its scope, the treatise includes new chapters on, among other new topics, CFPB enforcement, the Military Lending Act, and vendor management.

Editors Richard E. Gottlieb, Arthur B. Axelson, and Thomas M. Hanson—as they have every year since publication of the original edition in 2011—have closely followed these developments and have structured this practical Q&A guide to ensure that the reader has the absolute latest information on the laws and regulations impacting the industry today.

Richard E. Gottlieb counsels and defends banks, mortgage lenders, servicers, auto finance companies, retailers, insurers and other entities in a wide variety of matters, including the defense of both individual and putative class action suits alleging false or deceptive practices and statutory consumer lending violations, the defense of enforcement matters brought by state and federal agencies, and in providing regulatory and compliance advice. Prior to joining Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Mr. Gottlieb chaired the Consumer Financial Services practice at an Am Law 150 firm.

Mr. Gottlieb is a recognized national leader in the field of financial services. He has been listed in Chambers USA’s Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance Litigation category since its inception. Chambers notes he is praised for his “knowledge and problem-solving abilities,” his particular “expertise in consumer finance matters,” and further describes him as "incredibly client-focused." Richard is also one of only two lawyers to be elected a Fellow of both the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) and the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers (ACCFSL), where he is currently serving a four-year term on the governing Board of Regents. He is likewise an active member of various bar and trade associations, where he has held various leadership roles. 

Mr. Gottlieb is a frequent lecturer on financial services, privacy, fair lending, class actions and trial practice matters, and has been interviewed on programs such as NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He is regularly published and served as co-author and lead editor for PLI's recently-published Consumer Financial Services Answer Book 2016 (Practising Law Institute), as well as all previous editions.


Mr. Gottlieb’s current and recent representations include the following:

  • Representation of servicers and mortgage lenders in connection with attorney general, state banking and federal agency investigations arising out of alleged defects in residential foreclosure processes
  • Representation of mortgage lenders in defense of putative class actions alleging race discrimination in the extension of credit under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), and other discrimination statutes
  • Representation of retailers, financial services companies, debt collectors and other entities in defense of putative class actions alleging "blast fax," automated dialer, and related claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Defense of multiple lenders in qui tam actions under the federal False Claims Act and state law equivalents
  • Representation of major financial institution in multimillion dollar dispute over servicing transfer rights in connection with large commercial property
  • Representation of lenders, servicers and insurers in connection with audits, market conduct examinations, civil investigative demands (CIDs), subpoenas, grand jury matters and enforcement activities
  • Defense of individual and putative class actions alleging violations by lenders of federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Home Owners Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and related statutes and regulations
  • Defense of putative class actions against collection agencies and debt purchasers alleging violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
  • Prosecution and defense of numerous commercial, consumer and insurance arbitrations and mediations
  • Defense of mass actions and putative class actions alleging improper denial of loan modifications under federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
  • Representation of automotive financial services clients in proceedings against dealers and guarantors
  • Representation of major mortgage servicers and lenders in hundreds of actions seeking to circumvent residential foreclosures

Significant Decisions

  • FM Industries v. Citicorp Credit Services, Inc., 614 F. 3d 335 (7th Cir. 2010). Affirming award of sanctions and fees against plaintiff and its counsel in software-based copyright action
  • Wahl v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., 556 F. 3d 643 (7th Cir. 2009). Affirming grant of summary judgment in certified FDCPA class action, and broadly holding that an alleged false claim must likewise mislead unsophisticated consumers to be actionable, notwithstanding disjunctive language in statute (Mr. Gottlieb argued.) 
  • Murray v. New Cingular Wireless, et al.; Bruce v. KeyBank N.A., 523 F. 3d 719 (7th Cir. 2008). Broadly rejecting "firm offer" FCRA lawsuits based on theory that mailings lacked value or that law requires all material terms in the initial mailer. This ruling effectively overrules Cole v. U.S. Capital (7th Cir. 2004) (Mr. Gottlieb argued.) 
  • Guise v. BWM Mortgage LLC,  377 F. 3d 795 (7th Cir. 2004), aff’g 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 14914 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 25, 2003). Concluding that solely the unreasonable portion of any excessive charge may be attributed to finance charge in determining tolerances under TILA (Mr. Gottlieb argued on behalf of all appellees.) 

Thomas M. Hanson is a member in McGlinchey Stafford’s Dallas office. Mr. Hanson is a commercial litigator who is licensed to practice in Texas, California, and Michigan as well as a host of federal district and appellate courts throughout the country. Mr. Hanson has long devoted the bulk of his practice to the representation of financial services companies in a variety of litiga-tion matters, including commercial disputes, wrongful foreclosure, mortgage fraud, reverse mortgage issues, and individual and putative class actions alleging various statutory and common law theories of deceptive practices/predatory lending. Mr. Hanson also advises his clients on various regulatory matters, including supervision and  enforcement, vendor management, and operational process and policy issues.

Mr. Hanson is a frequent writer and speaker on numerous financial services and litigation topics. In addition to serving as co-editor and chapter author on previous editions of the PLI Consumer Financial  Services Answer Book, his publications include “Lessening the Pain: How Policies Can Help You Prevent, and Fight, Lawsuits,” Smart Busi-ness Dallas (June 2012); “Defending the Adequacy of Disclosures in Non-Traditional Mortgage Products,” The Review of Banking & Finan-cial Services (June 2009); and “Intestate Succession for Stepchildren:  California Leads the Way, But Has It Gone Far Enough?,” Hastings Law Journal (1996). He has been a presenter at financial services conferences and webinars organized by the American Conference  Institute, the Mortgage Banking Association, the American Bar Associ-ation’s Consumer Financial Services Subcommittee, the Practising Law  Institute and Lorman, and he frequently provides in-house CLE  presentations to his clients.

Mr. Hanson’s nationwide litigation practice has resulted in a host of favorable reported trial court and appellate decisions in a wide range of jurisdictions, including federal and state courts in California,  New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas. Prior to relocat-ing to Dallas, Mr. Hanson resided and practiced in Ann Arbor, Michigan,  where he was elected to the Scio Township Board of Trustees in 2008. Mr. Hanson graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif  from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California, and received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Arthur B. Axelson  is Se-nior Associate General Counsel at Freddie Mac. Prior to joining Fred-die Mac, Mr. Axelson was in private practice at Dykema Gossett, Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis & Bockius. In his practice, he regularly inter-acted with federal and state banking officials to assist clients on com-pliance and new product development and advised financial service providers on both federal and state law, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and their implementing regulations. 

Mr. Axelson represented a broad range of financial institutions, brokers, lenders, loan servicers, investors, and other service pro-viders on consumer financial service and retail banking matters. His primary areas of practice included federal and state regulatory com-pliance with special emphasis on new product development, secured and unsecured lending, regulatory banking, and e-commerce in the financial services industry. Mr. Axelson has particular experience in reverse mortgage lending and other mortgage products, and also advised clients regarding various regulatory banking issues, specific loan transaction problems, mortgage fraud concerns, alleged viola-tions of applicable law and regulations, and loan servicing and debt collection issues. 

Mr. Axelson regularly writes and speaks on regulatory compli-ance matters and has been elected by his peers as a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers.