CFPB seeks feedback on regulatory process

The request for information specifically calls for suggestions on “burden reduction” in its enforcement of federal consumer laws, while still fulfilling the bureau’s statutory function and commitment to transparency.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an official request for information seeking feedback from regulated entities about the efficiency of its policies and procedures. The RFI specifically calls for suggestions on “burden reduction” in its enforcement of federal consumer laws, while still fulfilling the bureau’s statutory function and commitment to transparency. The RFI can be found here.

This RFI is the third in a series announced recently by CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. The new RFI is more broad than the two prior RFIs, which focused on specific aspects of enforcement. Comments on the RFI must be received no later than 60 days after the date it is published in the Federal Register, which the CFPB expects to be mid-February.

The first RFI, which has a March 27, 2018 deadline, seeks comments on the CFPB’s processes surrounding civil investigative demands and investigational hearings.  The second RFI, which has a deadline of April 6, 2018, seeks comments on how the CFPB can improve its administrative adjudication processes.  A fourth upcoming RFI was also announced this week that will seek input on the bureau’s supervisory processes.

In the new RFI, the CFPB now seeks comment on all aspects of its enforcement processes but specifically lists several aspects of its work that drew complaints under former Director Richard Cordray from regulated entities as well as Congress.

Communication between the CFPB and subjects of its investigations is one specific topic in the RFI. This would include the timing and frequency of communications to and from the bureau, as well as information provided by the CFPB on the status of ongoing investigations and the length of those investigations.

Another important point is the Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise process. The bureau asks if the NORA process should be mandatory rather than discretionary. Also under scrutiny is the scope and nature of information contained in letters the CFPB may send to potential subjects of investigations pursuant to the NORA process. When an investigation is undertaken, the CFPB asks if subjects of potential enforcement actions should have the right to make an in-person presentation to the Bureau.

Finally, consent orders are also the subject of inquiry. The CFPB is seeking feedback on the calculation of civil penalties, including whether the Bureau should adopt a consistent civil penalty matrix. The bureau also asks if there should be standard provisions in CFPB consent orders.