United States

CFPB posts fall rulemaking agenda


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) has issued a blog post which includes a link to its Fall rulemaking agenda. The CFPB issues a rulemaking agenda twice a year, in the spring and the fall. The agenda items are divided into groups depending on the state of rulemaking – pre-rule, proposed rule or final rule. Here are some of the high points from this fall’s agenda.

The Bureau continues to contemplate what rules may be appropriate for short-term, high-cost credit products such as payday loans and deposit advance products. The Bureau issued a white paper and data point on this topic in the spring 2014, and is continuing to analyze consumer protection concerns related to these products. Last Spring, pre-rule activities for short-term, high-cost credit products were expected to end in the Fall with an issuance of a proposed rule. The topic of payday loan and deposit advance products is still showing in the pre-rule stage on the fall agenda with an expected completion date of February 2015. Any proposed rule issued at that time may include disclosures or address acts or practices related to these products. 

Debt collection is an area that has attracted a lot of interest from the Bureau as shown by the issuance of the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in November 2013, for which the extended comment period ended on Feb. 28, 2014. For a little background in this area, the ANPR sought comments, data, and information from the public about debt collection practices and about how rules for debt collectors might protect consumers without imposing unnecessary burdens on debt collectors to help the Bureau in proposing rules in this area. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, abusive and other unlawful collection practices, imposes restrictions on debt collectors’ communications with consumers and others, and includes a debt dispute process. It does not apply to a creditor collecting its own debt. There are no regulations to implement the FDCPA because no federal agency had been vested with the authority to draft them. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act vested the Bureau with the authority to implement FDCPA regulations. The Bureau is preparing a survey to obtain additional information from consumers on the subject and is conducting testing to determine what information would be useful to consumers. A proposed rule was expected in this area in December 2014, but it has been delayed until April 2015. Based on the information in the ANPR, subsequent guidance issued by the Bureau, and the large number of complaints the Bureau receives in this area, a proposed rule may address longstanding problems in the debt collection area as well as new communication tools such as email and text messaging, and rules covering creditors collecting their own debt.   

The area of overdrafts was expected to be the subject of a proposed rule in early 2015, but according to the agenda, the proposal will be delayed until July 2015. The basis for this rule may come from data the Bureau acquired from nine large banks, and may address issues such as the opt-in process for ATM and one-time debit card transactions, overdraft coverage limits, transaction posting order, overdraft and insufficient funds fee structure, and involuntary account closures. According to the agenda, the Bureau will release results from additional studies in this area, and rulemaking may include disclosures or address specific acts or practices.

Proposed rules can be expected in January 2015 relating to small creditors who operate predominantly in “rural or underserved” areas, and in October 2015 for large participants in certain consumer financial products and service markets.

At the time of the writing of this article, final rules were expected to be issued for the appraisal management company related amendments to Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) in December 2014, to the Expedited Funds Availability Act in June 2015, and for the additional data fields and coverage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in July 2015.

No further updates as to future activity were provided for the rules relating to prepaid cards, defining larger participants in automobile financing, or the amendments and corrections to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Final Rule.