Federal Legislators Jump on Commercial Financing Disclosure Bandwagon, Renew Push to Give CFPB Authority Over Industry

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US CapitolFeel like there’s a lot of state-level disclosure going around lately? Well now some members of Congress believe another layer is needed at the federal level. In a bill titled the “Small Business Financing Disclosure Act of 2023,” the language looks awfully familiar. There’s a Double Dipping clause in it, for example, which was a term first seen in a New York State law.

The federal bill, which was introduced by US Senator Robert Menendez and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, seeks to place the small business finance industry under the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As part of that, the Director (currently Rohit Chopra) would be responsible for devising all the rules and formulas, according to the bill. Furthermore, with regards to sales-based financing, the bill specifically states:

1. The provider must disclose an APR.

2. The estimated term of repayment and periodic payments based on projected sales volume must be disclosed.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “But for too long, predatory lenders have taken advantage of businesses in need of capital by offering loans and similar products with unclear terms and exorbitant interest rates.”

Supporters of the bill, including Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Ron Wyden, also stated that the bill is aimed at “predatory lenders.”

In Senator Menendez’s press statement for the bill, it cites Funding Circle, a small business lending company, as a supporter.

“We believe a free and fair market operates most efficiently when there is transparency in pricing, terms and conditions,” said Ryan Metcalf, Head of U.S. Public Affairs at Funding Circle U.S. When a small business has all of the necessary information up front including the annual percentage rate (APR), they can comparison shop and make informed decisions that are best for their business. Funding Circle supports one national uniform small business financing disclosure law because it is in the best interests of small businesses and interstate commerce.”

The push for a small business financing bill is not new. A similar bill introduced by Velázquez last year did not move forward, nor did the one from 2021, nor the one from 2019. The difference is that previous versions focused on Confessions of Judgment and fairness in small business lending. The latest version takes on the air of disclosure while attempting to subjugate the whole industry to CFPB regulatory authority.

Last modified: June 16, 2023
Sean Murray

Category: Business Lending, merchant cash advance, Regulation

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