Welcome to our weekly roundup of big regulatory and compliance developments. I'm C. Ryan Barber here in Washington. Comments, tips? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @cryanbarber. My desk line: 202-828-0315.
Watson comes to Wall Street. IBM’s artificial intelligence platform Watson is coming to the finance arena. The tech company this week “rolled out a suite of software solutions that will help financial institutions manage their regulatory responsibilities,” Business Insider reports. Watson’s also helping financial companies reduce their legal spend, our affiliate publication, Corporate Counsel, reported last month.
There might be fewer financial regs to comply with in the coming months. The U.S. Treasury Department released its much-anticipated report recommending wide rollbacks on financial regulations, including dialing back the President Barack Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We have more here on the report.
Big banks are rolling out the digital payment system “Zelle” to challenge the popular Venmo app. “The days of cash as king may be a step closer to ending,” The New York Times reports. More than 30 banks are backing Zelle. Reuters has more here.
Draft federal legislation would block states from setting driverless car rules. Reuters reports that a set of 14 bills would make the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the chief regulatory agency for the autonomous vehicle industry.
Uber Technologies Inc. faces more headaches, and we’re not just talking about how it deals with the Covington & Burling report on reforming the company’s culture. The tech publication Recode reports the Federal Trade Commission is looking at the company’s privacy practices. The caveat—FTC regulators look at a lot of things but don’t always bring any enforcement action. Uber’s facing a new lawsuit, too. Our affiliate publication The Recorder reports: “A woman raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi in 2014 has filed a new lawsuit claiming that company officials who obtained and reviewed her medical records invaded her privacy and defamed her.” Bottom line: Uber's legal department won't be lacking any work in the near future.
A former Amazon.com Inc. warehouse worker in California is suing the company for alleged violations of California labor regulations. Michael Ortiz’s suit was filed in Contra Costa Superior Court. “Amazon faces a heavy burden to show that the workers truly fit within the narrow exemption to overtime pay that the California Legislature established,” Jahan Sagafi of Outten & Golden told The New York Times.
An AARP lawyer wants regulators to take a fresh look at mandatory retirement policies at big firms, the NLJ reports. Laurie McCann, a senior attorney from the AARP Foundation Litigation, told EEOC commissioners at a public meeting Wednesday that age discrimination should not be treated as a “second-class civil rights” issue and greater enforcement is needed to address policies that could run afoul of federal law.
Financial lobby groups are pushing back against the CFPB’s scrutiny of the deferred-interest promotions commonly offered on store-brand credit cards. From our report at NLJ: “The American Bankers Association and Consumer Bankers Association disputed the notion that deferred interest products confuse consumers. For instance, the Consumer Bankers Association and Financial Services Roundtable said high ‘payoff rates’ show that consumers understand how deferred interest products work. The groups argued that no additional regulatory action is warranted for deferred interest products.”
Regulatory rollback for for-profit schools. Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Education Department announced it was delaying Obama-era policies calling for expediting and expanding a system for erasing the debt of cheated borrowers, The New York Times reports. Also, the department is putting off parts of what is known as the gainful employment mandate, which cuts off loans to colleges if their graduates don’t earn enough money to pay off their debt.
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