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1.5.2.1 General

The basic source of Truth in Lending law is, of course, the statute itself,175 reprinted at Appendix A to this treatise. As a practical matter, however, the statute will seldom provide quick answers to everyday Truth in Lending questions. Although the statute is quite specific on topics such as the definition of credit terms, the statute is structured more as an outline to be filled in by regulations than as a comprehensive code. Furthermore, with the exceptions of the statutory provisions setting forth remedies for TILA violations, and those establishing the administrative structure of the Act, the more detailed sections of the statute are repeated almost verbatim in the regulations.

The most important function of the statutory text for the practitioner is that it serves as a check on the regulations. As discussed in the following subsection, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been granted broad discretion in implementing TILA, and because the CFPB regulations frequently must treat issues that the statute simply does not address, this broad discretion approaches the power to legislate. Nevertheless, where the statute is specific, it cannot be administratively repealed. It is invariably prudent, when litigating any issue treated by the regulations, to check the statutory authority behind the relevant regulation. This is not to say that TILA regulations frequently run counter to the statute or that challenges to the regulations will often succeed. Just the opposite is true.176 Yet, despite the emphasis that this and other treatises place on Regulation Z, the CFPB official interpretations, and case law, it should be remembered that the fundamental Truth in Lending authority is the Act itself.

Footnotes

  • 175 {173} 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601–1615.

  • 176 {174} See, e.g., Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Milhollin, 444 U.S. 555, 100 S. Ct. 799, 63 L. Ed. 2d 22 (1980); § 1.5.3, infra.