United States

CFPB adopts application process for designating rural areas


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) has announced the adoption of a procedural rule that establishes an application process by which an entity may apply for an area to be designated as a rural area for the purposes of a Federal consumer financial law. This process is required by the HELP Rural Communities Act. Applications will be accepted beginning March 31, 2016, until Dec. 4, 2017. However, any application submitted after April 8, 2017, will be considered only if the Bureau determines the designation decision process for that application can be completed by the sunset date of Dec. 4, 2017, based on the time remaining, the complexity of the application and any other relevant factors.

The applicant must first identify the area for which the designation is being requested and the state in which the area is located. The application will also include information from the Census Bureau, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Agriculture and State Bank Supervisor as well as the population density of the area.

The Bureau shall promptly complete a preliminary review of the request, and will notify the applicant if additional information is needed. The application will be published in the Federal Register no later than 60 days after receipt of a complete application, and will be open for public comment for no less than 90 days. The Bureau will review the public comments and will grant or deny the application and publish the decision in the Federal Register no later than 90 days after the end of the public comment period.