Clark Hill Attorney Joann Needleman Featured in Law360

Jan 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has outlined a set of financial services policy priorities for the coming year that he says will bolster the state's consumer protection capabilities, an agenda that attorneys say underscores the state's aggressive regulatory reputation but doesn't strike out in unexpected directions. In a State of the State agenda which spans more than 300 pages, the New York governor called for legislative changes that would establish a state licensing and oversight regime for debt collectors and provide officials with enforcement authority under New York law to go after abusive conduct, paralleling authority possessed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Joann Needleman, member and leader of Clark Hill’s Consumer Financial Services Regulatory & Compliance group, was quoted in the article. She addressed the question of the difference it will make if state-law enforcement authority is expanded to include abusive conduct, which is complicated by the lack of an established, broadly agreed-upon definition for what constitutes abusiveness and how it differs from the other two unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) prongs, an issue the CFPB is currently grappling with.

"What is it about 'abusive' that you can't otherwise find in 'unfair' and 'deceptive'?" Needleman said. "It's just making the web that much bigger, but they have not necessarily justified why they need that term."

With this in mind, some attorneys see Cuomo's proposals as an extension of ongoing efforts to package and position New York as a leader in consumer financial protection rather than making fundamental changes to the state's financial regulatory landscape.

Read the full story and Needleman’s full commentary here.

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