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Update From the CFPB

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official addresses ACA Convention attendees.

With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau having just launched its consumer complaint resolution process for the industry a week ago, the collection industry is focused on the bureau’s activities. So when Alice Hrdy, deputy assistant director for the CFPB’s Office of Supervision Policy, spoke at the ACA Convention, attendees were extremely interested in her message.

Hrdy discussed the bureau’s three key market-wide issues pertaining to the collection industry:

  • Accuracy and integrity of information used to collect consumer debts.
  • Debt verification and consumer complaints and disputes, and the effect on consumer reporting accuracy.
  • Understanding industry practices.

These issues have been running themes throughout recent CFPB events and activities, including the June 13 FTC/CFPB Roundtable on Data Integrity; the July 10 CFPB Field Hearing; and the July 3 Unified Rulemaking Agenda announcement.

Hrdy also highlighted the CFPB’s expectations of collection agencies:

  • Compliance with federal consumer financial laws.
  • Establishing an effective compliance management system to prevent violations of federal consumer financial laws.
  • Self-identifying issues and initiating corrective actions
  • Managing relationships with third-party service providers to ensure they effectively manage compliance with federal consumer financial laws.

She said the CFPB is committed to transparency and understanding the industry’s concerns. She acknowledged concerns with recently posted letters designed to help consumers respond to collection attempts and stressed that the bureau does not view every complaint as a violation of law.

“Simply because a complaint has been filed does not mean a law has been broken,” Hrdy said.

She also acknowledged the importance of the collection industry to the U.S. economy.

“We recognize debt collection is critical to the healthy functioning of the consumer credit market," she said. "It is our job to carefully analyze the market and weigh the risk to consumers to develop appropriate policies so this market continues to work for families and the American public.”

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