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CFPB seeks comment on its guidance and implementation support

The CFPB has issued a request for information that seeks comment on its guidance and implementation support. Comments on the RFI must be received on or before 90 days after the date the RFI is published in the Federal Register, which the CFPB expects to occur on approximately April 2, 2018.

The RFI lists the following areas of interest on which commenters may want to focus input:

  • Through its “Regulatory Inquiries Function,” the CFPB “assists individual inquirers who have specific questions about the Bureau’s statutes and regulations.”  Such inquiries are generally submitted through a phone message or a form accessed on the CFPB’s website.  The CFPB seeks feedback on all aspects of its Regulatory Inquiries Function, including the following:

    • Preferred vehicle(s) for submitting inquiries

    • Preferences for responses to inquiries, format and delivery methods, and desired timing

    • Relative value of responses

    • Whether the CFPB should publish written responses to inquiriesAll aspects of its regulatory implementation and compliance aids, including the following:

      • Utility of the CFPB’s compliance guides and quick reference materials and areas for improvement

      • Utility of the CFPB’s webinars and areas for improvement

      • Delivery method and timing for notifying stakeholders of the availability of new or amended materials

  • All aspects of the process by which the CFPB issues Official Interpretations and interpretative rules (i.e. standalone rules without notice and comment), including the following:

    • Efficiency and effectiveness of providing guidance through Official Interpretations

    • Types of standalone interpretive rules that are most efficient and effective

    • Whether there are circumstance in which the CFPB should use the notice-and comment process (even if not legally required) for standalone interpretive rules

  • All aspects of guidance materials issued by the CFPB’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending (SEFL), including the following:

    • Timing, frequency, scope, and delivery method of SEFL guidance materials

    • Benefits or drawbacks associated with the CFPB’s use of each particular type of SEFL guidance vehicle

  • Potential new methods or channels for providing guidance, including the following:

    • Utility of FAQs

    • Utility of establishing an advisory opinion program

  • The CFPB uses “disclaimers” on “non-rule guidance” (defined as guidance materials that the CFPB does not believe are rules subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)) “to describe the purposes of the material, note the legal limitations of the guidance in light of the APA and underlying Federal consumer financial laws, and emphasize that the rule and its Official interpretations are the definitive sources regarding a rule’s requirements in the event of a perceived conflict.”  The CFPB seeks feedback on all aspects of its disclaimers, including the following:

    • Whether disclaimers are transparent, understandable, and appropriate to the type of guidance provided

    • Desired changes to the CFPB’s disclaimer language or approach to disclaimers generally

    • Whether the CFPB should adopt a single, more generic disclaimer to use in most instance

The new RFI represents the tenth in a series of RFIs announced by Mr. Mulvaney.  The subjects of the CFPB’s first nine RFIs and their comment deadlines are as follows:

(The initial comment deadlines for the first three RFIs listed above were extended this week to the dates indicated.)

In its press release announcing the latest RFI, the CFPB stated that the next RFI in the series will be issued next week and will address consumer education.

Copyright © by Ballard Spahr LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 88



About this Author

Barbara S. Mishkin, Ballard Spahr, Philadelphia, Deceptive Practices Lawyer, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Gramm Leach Bliley
Of Counsel

Barbara Mishkin focuses on consumer compliance and banking law. The federal laws with which Ms. Mishkin has dealt extensively include the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. She also has significant experience with state usury and lender licensing laws, as well as state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

American Bar Association, member, Consumer Financial Services Committee;...