On September 15, the FTC will host a workshop titled “Putting Disclosures to the Test” to examine the effectiveness of consumer disclosures. Scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., the full-day event will include an opening session devoted to how consumers process disclosures, and presentations on the following six topic areas: (i) methods and procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of disclosures; (ii) if and when consumers notice, read, or pay attention to disclosures; (iii) if consumers understand the information in disclosures; (iv) the impact of disclosures on consumers’ decisions and behavior; (v) case studies; and (vi) the future of disclosures, with emphasis on how to make them more efficient and effective. In addition to acknowledging the agency’s commitment to ensuring the use of effective, non-deceptive disclosures for advertisement purposes, the FTC highlighted the significance of effective disclosures in the privacy field and noted that it has “long encouraged the development and testing of shorter, clearer, easier-to-use privacy disclosures and consent mechanisms.”
On November 18, OCC published a notice seeking comments on various reporting, recordkeeping, and disclosure requirements associated with its regulations that implemented the Volcker Rule. Among other things, the OCC is seeking comments on: (i) whether the information sought is necessary for the OCC to perform its supervisory functions; (ii) the accuracy of the OCC’s estimate of the information collection burden; (iii) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected while also minimizing the collection burdens on respondents; and (iv) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide the information. Comments must be submitted on or before January 17, 2017.
Recently, the CFPB released a fact sheet that provides a basic outline for applying Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosures to constructions loans. Specifically, the fact sheet notes that (i) most construction loans are covered by the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosures, with the exception of those that are open-end transactions or for commercial purposes; and (ii) Regulation Z’s existing provisions for disclosures for certain construction loans and construction-to-permanent loans continue to apply. In addition, the fact sheet provides guidance regarding a creditor’s choice to disclose a construction loan with permanent financing as one or two transactions. According to the fact sheet, the CFPB may release additional guidance to facilitate compliance with the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, including a possible webinar regarding construction loan disclosures.
On January 5, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued a new accounting standard which “‘is intended to provide users of financial statements with more useful information on the recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure of financial instruments.’” The new Accounting Standards Update (ASU) impacts public and private companies, not-for-profit organizations, and employee benefit plans that hold financial assets or owe financial liabilities. The new guidance is intended to make targeted improvements to existing GAAP by, among several other things, generally only requiring that changes in the fair value of equity investments be recorded in net income and requiring public business entities to use the exit price notion when measuring the fair value of financial instruments for disclosure purposes. The ASU will take effect for public companies for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 (including interim periods within those fiscal years), and for private companies, not-for-profit organizations, and employee benefit plans for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 (and for interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019). Early adoption of certain provisions is permitted.
On May 12, Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) signed HB 313, which will require auto dealers to provide notice to the purchaser/lessee before the dealer-arranged third-party financing is approved. The law requires the dealer to “notify a buyer in writing if the terms of a certain financing or lease agreement are not approved by a third-party finance source within a certain period of time.” Specifically, the dealer has four days from the delivery of the vehicle to notify the purchase/lessee of the third-party rejection. If the sale of the vehicle is canceled, the purchaser/lessee must return the vehicle to the dealer within two days of receiving the written notice. The new law is effective October 1, 2015.