The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released the results of a public opinion poll on the use of arbitration agreements by banks and other consumer financial services providers. The Pew report stopped short of making policy recommendations but appeared to come down in favor of stricter rules for banks and credit unions in the use of arbitration.

Ballard Spahr partner Alan S. Kaplinsky and other firm lawyers who counsel financial institutions on arbitration clauses called into question the researchers' methodology, saying the survey was "misleading." Mr. Kaplinsky said, "I thought the Pew study was so deeply flawed and so slanted."

Meanwhile, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is conducting its own arbitration study, and industry observers are thus far pleased with what they're seeing from it. "I must say that before having had some discussions with people at the CFPB about the project, I was probably very skeptical about whether this would really be a fair study that they would conduct, whether it would be based on political data, or whether it would be based more on political leaning," Mr. Kaplinsky said. "And so far I've been impressed."

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