The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has now issued six requests for information (RFIs) as part of Acting Director Mulvaney's Call for Evidence Regarding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Functions, which we have previously covered. The RFIs provide industry participants a chance to comment on the CFPB's rules, policies, and practices regarding investigations, examinations, enforcement actions, and external engagement.
To date, issued RFIs include the following:
|CFPB Requests for Information||Publication in the Federal Register||Comment Deadline|
|Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs)||January 26, 2018||Tuesday, March 27, 2018|
|Administrative Adjudications||February 5, 2018||Friday, April 06, 2018|
|Enforcement Processes||February 12, 2018||Friday, April 13, 2018|
|Supervision Program||February 20, 2018||Monday, May 21, 2018|
|External Engagements||February 26, 2018||Tuesday, May 29, 2018|
As discussed previously, the CFPB seeks comment on its CID processes, which are often onerous, overly broad, and resource-intensive for companies responding to them. Of particular note, the RFI queries whether to change the current practice of making petitions to modify or quash CIDs, as well as the CFPB's response, public (thereby disclosing the fact of an otherwise non-public investigation).
Administrative Adjudications RFI
The Consumer Financial Protection Act and the CFPB's implementing rules allow the CFPB to bring enforcement actions and seek remedies and penalties in the agency's administrative forum, in addition to the federal courts. The RFI queries whether the CFPB should use this form as a true alternative venue, i.e., whether the CFPB should pursue contested matters only in federal court rather than through the administrative adjudication process. For matters pursued through administrative adjudication, the RFI asks whether and how the procedural rules should be amended—often asking whether certain rules should be revised to match the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure.
Enforcement Processes RFI
The Enforcement Processes RFI covers the breadth of CFPB enforcement actions, from investigations and the Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise process, to evaluating the CFPB's consent order provisions and civil money penalty processes.
Supervision Program RFI
The CFPB has supervisory authority (akin to that of the federal banking regulators) over insured depository institutions and credit unions with total assets over $10 billion and their affiliates, as well as certain non-bank financial companies, including mortgage companies, payday lenders, and private education lenders, and larger participants in the fields of consumer reporting, debt collection, student loan servicing, international money transfer, and automobile finance (and service providers to any of the supervised institutions). The Supervision Program RFI seeks input on whether and how to streamline the supervisory examination process—including through coordination with other federal and state supervisory agencies—and add clarity to the outcomes of examinations.
External Engagements RFI
Since the CFPB was created, it has engaged publicly through field hearings, town halls, roundtables, non-public meetings, and public meetings of its Advisory Board and Councils. The External Engagements RFI seeks input on the usefulness of such engagements, and how they can be improved.
Consumer Complaint Reporting RFI
The CFPB's RFI regarding consumer complaint reporting notes that "collecting, investigating, and responding to consumer complaints" is one of the six statutory "primary functions" of the CFPB under its organic statute, the Consumer Financial Protection Act. In addition to collecting, investigating, and responding to complaints, the CFPB publishes complaints and complaint information in a variety of ways, including:
- Reports to Congress;
- Monthly Complaint Reports;
- Special Edition Complaint Reports; and
- Consumer Complaint Database.
The Consumer Complaint Reporting RFI seeks comments regarding the usefulness of complaint reporting and analysis to external stakeholders, as well as suggestions or best practices for complaint reporting and publication given the CFPB's statutory objectives. Of particular interest to industry participants will be questions regarding the types of information and level of detail made public via the CFPB's Complaint Database.