The New York Times on January 10 published an excellent overview of the most important agenda items in 2014 for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the still relatively new and very powerful federal regulator and enforcer for the consumer financial services industry. The Bureau will focus this year on the use of arbitration clauses in contracts with consumers, overdraft fees, student loans, debt collection, credit report disputes, and prepaid cards. The first item — use of arbitration clauses — could be a blockbuster. A decision to ban arbitration clauses would force changes in the practices of many banks and financial services companies and could mean more lawsuits in general and more class action lawsuits in particular. Stay tuned for reports throughout the coming year on all the issues under the Bureau’s scrutiny.
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