Truth in Lending Civil Suits Lowest Level in Last Decade

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during September 2019 the government reported 14 new truth in lending civil filings. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, this brings the total to 158 new cases that have been filed over the course of the last twelve months. See Table 1.

Table 1. Truth in Lending Civil Filings
Number Latest Month 14
Number for FY 2019 158
Number for FY 2014 271
Number for FY 2009 1,281
Percent Change from 5 years ago -41.7%
Percent Change from 10 years ago -87.7%

Parties bring truth in lending cases to the federal courts in civil disputes including those under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC 1681), the Fair Debt Collection Act (15 USC 1692), and other statutory guarantees such as Title 15 USC 1601, the Truth in Lending Act. Suits may also charge breach of fiduciary duties, or be filed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 USC 227).

During the past fiscal year 2019, suits were commonly brought against banks and other financial companies such as those financing home mortgages, companies involved in financing automobile sales or providing medical services. Typically suits were brought by private individuals, although occasionally the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau brought suit[1].

Truth in lending cases peaked during FY 2009 when 1,281 new cases were filed in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis. They have fallen since then - with FY 2019 marking the lowest level in the last decade.

Figure 1. Truth in Lending Civil Filings
(Click for larger image)

The long term trend in truth in lending civil filings since FY 2008 is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of truth in lending civil filings of this type recorded each year. Figures are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC.

Table 2. Federal Judicial Districts with Highest Truth in Lending Filing Rate During FY 2019
Judicial District Number of Suits Rate* Times U.S. Average
Conn 10 2.8 5.6
La, M 2 2.4 4.8
Hawaii 3 2.1 4.2
Ill, C 4 1.8 3.6
La, E 3 1.8 3.6
* per 1,000,000 population.

While the Central District of California (Los Angeles) led the country in FY 2019 with a total of 14 truth in lending suits, relative to its population size the rate of filings was only modestly higher than the national average.

In comparison, the federal judicial district for Connecticut with a total of 10 lawsuits had the highest rate of filings relative to its population size with over five times the national average. Other judicial districts with particularly high per capita truth in lending filings last year were the Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge), Hawaii, the Central District of Illinois (Springfield), and the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). See Table 2.


[1] See, for example, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. ITT Educational Services, Inc. in a 2014 suit in the Southern District of Indiana which was reopened in August of this year (2014cv00292).

Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.