Another financial-sector company is fighting to keep its name secret as it challenges the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to bring an enforcement action.
The company—identified only as “John Doe” in Washington federal trial court—offers pension advance products that allow consumers to receive a lump sum payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of their future pension.
The CFPB has warned that such products can “eat into your retirement income.” State regulators in New York and California, among other states, have taken actions in recent years against practices in the pension-advance market.
Companies have tangled with federal agencies, with limited success, over the right to remain anonymous in challenges to investigative and enforcement authority.
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The latest John Doe company in the Washington case, which sued the consumer bureau in January, argued the agency should not be able to identify it as the target of an investigation. Publication of the company’s name—as it tries to stop any enforcement action—would bring “irreparable harm,” the company’s lawyers argued.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras on Friday blocked the CFPB from revealing the name of the company for at least the next two weeks. But the judge refused to wholesale stop the bureau from pursuing any enforcement action at all.
The company’s lawyers at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and Dorsey & Whitney immediately went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to try to stop the agency from moving forward.