by Christopher Peterson
The Supreme Court has issued an opinion striking down the federal banking regulatory preemption of state fair lending enforcement lawsuits. The Court confronted whether ambiguity in the National Bank Act left the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency free to preempt state fair lending litigation originally brought by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. In applying the administrative deference standard of Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., the Court explained:
Cuomo v. Clearing House Association, LLC., No. 08-453, slip. op. at 3 (U.S. June 29, 2009).
The decision reverses the trend in recent years, discussed here and here, of giving free reign to federal banking regulators to squelch the consumer protection efforts of state attorneys general. While the long-term impact of the decision is yet to be clear, the opinion is likely to embolden some state AGs in litigation against national banks and their subsidiaries over the subprime mortgage debacle.