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Typically, a fiduciary relationship arises when one party places special confidence and trust in another, who then becomes obligated to act with due regard for the interests of the first party. While the law varies slightly from state to state, courts have been reluctant to impose fiduciary duties on banks in their dealings with consumers. As the Supreme Court of Ohio explained, “advice given by a creditor to a debtor in a commercial context in which the parties deal at arm’s length, each protecting his or her respective interests, is insufficient to create a fiduciary relationship.” By enacting the unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress initiated a process that appears certain to change the nature of the relationship between financial institutions and their consumers, creating something more than an arm’s length business negotiation but less than a fiduciary relationship.

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