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Spring 2018 rulemaking agenda

May 11, 2018 / Source: CFPB

Spring 2018 rulemaking agenda

By Kelly Cochran – MAY 10, 2018

The Bureau’s general purpose, as specified in section 1021 of the Dodd-Frank Act, is to implement and enforce federal consumer financial law consistently for the purpose of ensuring that all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services and that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive. Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies must publish regulatory agendas twice a year. As an independent regulatory agency, we have been voluntarily participating in the Unified Agenda, which is led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB recently posted online our updated agenda submitted this spring. Portions of that agenda will also be published in the Federal Register.

The Unified Agenda  includes rulemaking actions in pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long-term, inactive, and completed stages. Our rulemaking work is focused on achieving the objectives established in the Dodd-Frank Act. Our regulatory work in pursuit of these objectives can be grouped into two categories: 

  1. Implementation of directives from Congress 
  2. Other efforts to exercise the Bureau’s statutory authorities

The Bureau is under interim leadership pending the appointment and confirmation of a permanent director. In light of this status, Bureau leadership is prioritizing during coming months:

  • Meeting specific statutory responsibilities
  • Continuing selected rulemakings that were already underway 
  • Reconsidering two regulations issued under the prior leadership

The Bureau has recently launched a “call for evidence” to ensure that it is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect consumers. As part of that initiative, we are seeking public feedback through a number of Requests for Information (RFIs) with respect to the regulations that the Bureau inherited from other agencies as well as regulations that the Bureau itself promulgated and issued. In addition, we are in the process of assessing the effectiveness of three rules pursuant to section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Future agendas will take into account the feedback received through the call for evidence and the assessment projects to identify areas in which issuing, modifying, or eliminating rules may be appropriate to achieve the Bureau’s strategic goals and objectives.

Implementing statutory directives

Much of the Bureau’s rulemaking work is focusing on implementing directives mandated in the Dodd-Frank Act and other statutes. Section 1021(b)(3) of the Dodd-Frank Act specifically directs the Bureau to engage in activities that serve the purpose of ensuring that “outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burden.” As part of these rulemakings, we are working to achieve the consumer protection objectives of the statutes while minimizing regulatory burden on financial services providers and facilitating a smooth implementation process. The Bureau is conducting follow-up rulemakings as warranted to address issues that have arisen during the process of implementing various mortgage requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act. We are also working to implement section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require financial institutions to collect, report, and make public certain information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.

Exercise of statutory authorities

Congress has assigned the Bureau the responsibility of issuing rules and guidance where appropriate to carry out the purposes and objectives of the federal consumer financial laws. We carry out that responsibility by gathering the best available evidence and engaging in rulemakings to address market failures and reduce unwarranted regulatory burden so as to enable markets to operate efficiently, transparently, and competitively.

Debt collection

The Bureau has engaged in research and pre-rulemaking activities regarding the debt collection market, which continues to be a top source of complaints to the Bureau. We are preparing a proposed rule focused on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) collectors that may address such issues as communication practices and consumer disclosures. 

Reconsideration of previous rules

The Bureau announced in December 2017 that it intends to open a rulemaking to reconsider various aspects of a 2015 final rule that amended regulations implementing the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The reconsideration could involve such issues as the institutional and transactional coverage tests and the rule’s discretionary data points.

The Bureau also announced, in January 2018, that it intends to engage in a rulemaking to reconsider a 2017 rule titled Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans. Most provisions of that rule would not require compliance until August 2019. 

Other updates

The Bureau also publishes a portion of the Unified Agenda focusing on potential long-term actions beyond the immediate next 12-month period . As in past editions of the Agenda, the long-term actions list includes potential rulemakings to implement statutory directives and to address technological developments, regulatory burden concerns, and other issues concerning payments and credit reporting. The Bureau has also moved to that list a review of subparts B and G of Regulation Z, which implement the Truth in Lending Act with respect to open-end credit generally and credit cards in particular. The Bureau had announced in 2017 that it had decided to engage in a series of such reviews of existing regulations inherited from other agencies through the transfer of authorities under the Dodd-Frank Act. Because of timing and resource considerations, the Bureau has reclassified its review of subparts B and G of Regulation Z (the first review in the Bureau’s planned series of reviews) as a long-term action.

The Bureau also publishes a portion of the Unified Agenda of inactive rulemakings . The Bureau’s Acting Director has decided to reclassify as “inactive” certain other rulemakings that had been listed in previous editions of our Unified Agenda in the expectation that final decisions on whether and when to proceed with such projects will be made by the Bureau’s next permanent director. This change in designation is not intended to signal a substantive decision on the merits of the projects.