HOLA-tta Preemption

In Barzelis v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., No. 14-10782 (Apr. 22, 2015), the Fifth Circuit addressed the preemption of state-law mortgage claims under “HOLA,” the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933, a statute governing federal savings associations.  The Court held:

1.  Notice and cure.  “It may be the case, for example, that a state law regulating interest-rate adjustments to protect borrowers is preempted by HOLA.  But that does not prevent a bank and a borrower from voluntarily agreeing to substantially the same protections in their contract . . . .”

2.  Misrepresentation.  “[W]here a negligent-misrepresentation claim is predicated not on affirmative misstatements but instead on the adequacy of disclosures or credit notices, it has a specific regulatory effect on lending operations and is preempted.”

3.  Debt collection.  Consumer protection laws “‘that establish the basic norms that undergird commercial transactions’ do not have more than an incidental effect on lending and thus escape preemption.”

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