United States

CFPB semiannual regulatory agenda provides a hint of what may come


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (Bureau) semiannual regulatory agenda was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 15, 2015. It outlines the items the Bureau reasonably expects to address between Nov. 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2016. Topics that may see some movement toward regulatory changes and new topics listed in the agenda include: 

Mortgage lending. The Bureau suggests that the rule proposed in December 2014 that will further modify the mortgage servicing rules will be finalized in June 2016. This rule would address borrowers in bankruptcy, loss mitigation requirements and successors in interest among other topics. Also impacting the area of mortgage lending may be the Bureau’s work with the other banking agencies to issue a proposed rule to implement amendments to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) regarding appraisals. The proposed rule will address quality control standards for automated valuation models (AVMs), conflicts of interest avoidance, mandatory sample testing and reviews, and is expected to be issued in April 2016.

Expedited Funds Availability Act. It’s possible that the amendments to Regulation CC proposed by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System that are subject to the Bureau’s joint rulemaking authority may be finalized in September 2016. These changes will impact the period for funds availability and model form disclosures.

Prepaid financial products. The Bureau issued a proposed rule in this area in November 2014. That proposal included bringing prepaid products under the Regulation E consumer protection umbrella and creating additional provisions within Reg E that would address these products. Modifications to Reg E include disclosures, limited liability and error resolution, and the posting of account agreements. The proposal also amended Reg E and Reg Z to regulate prepaid accounts with overdraft services and credit features. The Bureau continues to review public comments, consult with other agencies, conduct consumer testing and prepare implementation and consumer education materials. A final rule in this area can be expected in March 2016.

Payday loans and deposit advance products. The Bureau continues to consider rules to address consumer harm from practices related to these products, including the consumers’ ability to repay and some payment collection practices. It has issued an outline of a proposal in this area, met with a small business review panel, and expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in February 2016 after it completes additional outreach and analysis.

Arbitration. The Bureau has determined that rules relating to pre-dispute arbitration would be appropriate. It began with the pre-rule stage in late 2015 by convening a small business review panel.

Overdrafts. The Bureau continues its research in the area of overdrafts and has begun consumer testing relating to the opt-in process for overdraft protection coverage for ATM and one-time debit card transactions in this pre-rule stage that will go into early 2016. Other areas the Bureau is researching relating to overdrafts include overdraft coverage limits, transaction posting order, overdraft and insufficient fee structure and involuntary account closures.

Debt collection. After the issuance of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in November 2013 and the extension of the comment period to Feb. 28, 2014, the Bureau is analyzing survey responses from consumers about their debt collection experiences and is conducting testing to determine what information would be useful to consumers. Pre-rule activities in this area will continue into February 2016.

Business lending data collection. The Dodd-Frank Act amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require the collection and reporting of information concerning credit application from women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. During a pre-rule stage that will continue until September 2016, the Bureau will conduct outreach and research to further its understanding of the players, products and practices in this market before beginning to developing proposed regulations to collect data while safeguarding the information being gathered.

Supervision of larger participants in installment loan and vehicle title loan markets. The Dodd-Frank Act authorized the Bureau to supervise larger participants in certain nonbank covered persons, and granted the Bureau the authority to define these players. The Bureau is in the pre-rule stage of considering rules to define larger participants in the markets for consumer installment loans and vehicle title loans and whether registration of these lenders would facilitate supervision. Pre-rule activities are expected to continue until September 2016.