The coalition between state and federal consumer protection agencies that was born in the Dodd- Frank Act will soon come to fruition; a joint statement the two consumer protection forces made a year ago prefigures the coming accord. “You will shortly be receiving a Memorandum of Understanding from us to establish a general framework to share information on consumer financial protection issues,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, at a speech he made to the National Association of Attorneys General on March 6.
“The concept of an MOU has been proposed but we are still working to see if that will be used,” said Noelle Talley, a public information officer, for the North Carolina Attorney General’s office. General Roy Cooper has taken a lead role in working out the deal with the CFPB. “For the last year and half, since Dodd-Frank, we have been consulting with the CFPB to develop the relationship with the federal agencies’, part of that is information sharing,” Talley said.
Previous joint statements made by the CFPB and attorneys general give insight into how the agencies with collaborate. On April 11, 2011, the CFPB and the attorneys general made a joint statement in which both parties agreed to take cooperative action. The statement says they will:
• Share information, data, and analysis about conduct and practices in the markets;
• Engage in regular consultation to identify mutual enforcement priorities;
• Support each other, to the fullest extent permitted by law;
• Develop a consistent and enduring framework to share investigatory information and to coordinate enforcement activities;
• Share, refer, and route complaints and consumer complaint information between the CFPB and the state attorneys general; analyze and leverage the input they receive from consumers and the public in order to advance their mutual goal; and
• Create and support technologies to enable data sharing and procedures that will support complaint cooperation.
Some information sharing already has begun. As of March 14, the Bureau began sharing consumer complaint information with the Federal Trade Commission and several state Attorneys General through the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel system. Consumer Sentinel is an online database of consumer complaints already in use by other consumer protection agencies.