The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking input for a study into how arbitration and arbitration clauses affect consumers and financial services firms. The study could result in the CFPB’s imposing new regulations or conditions on the clauses, which consumer advocates have long criticized.

Alan S. Kaplinsky, Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group, said he was pleased the CFPB is seeking public comments for its study, which will ensure input from the banking industry. But he said the bureau failed to mention class actions lawsuits as an alternative to arbitration, or the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said companies may enforce individual arbitration instead of allowing class action suits.

"That is disappointing since most of the opponents of consumer arbitration are plaintiffs' class action lawyers who are trying to preserve their livelihood at the expense of consumers," Mr. Kaplinsky said. "I would have wanted the CFPB to focus on whether class actions are a better alternative for consumers than arbitration."

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