ACA Calls for Objective Regulations in Response to BCFP RFI on Rulemaking Processes
Debt collection regulations must be based on in-depth data, input from representatives across the industry and interpretation of industry laws in line with the intent of Congress.
6/8/2018 11:30 AM
ACA International continues to support fair and objective regulations that are mindful of compliance and cost-benefit analysis, the association leadership stated in a letter to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection related to the rulemaking processes.
In its Request for Information on the Rulemaking Process, the BCFP is seeking information to help assess the overall efficiency and effectiveness of its processes as well as its activities associated with initial outreach and information gathering, notices and more.
Due to the outstanding work of ACA International’s membership in conjunction with ACA advocacy efforts, the association’s views are being continually presented to the BCFP as it considers debt collection rulemaking. Additionally, the SBA Office of Advocacy continues to hear from ACA about the potential impact of rules on small businesses through the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel process, comments and participation in roundtable discussions.
It is important for the bureau to continue to consider the industry’s input and ACA International appreciates these opportunities and the chance to provide comments.
“Too often, however, the bureau’s rulemaking processes have been agenda-driven, lacking in objective evidentiary support, dismissive of both SBREFA small entity representative (“SER”) input and the need for rigorous cost-benefit analysis, and poorly conceived to solve real problems,” ACA CEO Mark Neeb said in the letter.
ACA is working to change this trajectory going forward. As part of that, ACA’s letter outlined suggestions for improving taking small business feedback into consideration.
The letter notes that while ACA has been involved in the SBREFA process, many members observe it is treated in a formulaic fashion and an obligation of the bureau, not as an opportunity to receive valuable industry input.
The letter also encourages the bureau to address its data collection and research processes as it develops rulemakings, particularly for debt collection.
For example, it notes that ACA has numerous concerns with the consumer survey the bureau conducted in preparation for the debt collection rulemaking. The survey report on consumer experiences was conceptually unclear, and at times highly exaggerated.
It included a remarkably small sample of individuals with actual experience communicating with the debt collection industry, which is an insufficient basis to inform any new industry rules.
Of the 2,132 survey respondents, only 682 individuals (32 percent) reported being contacted by a debt collector.
This presentation of data also includes limited context for interpreting responses or situating them with the larger sample of consumers.
The letter also notes that the bureau omitted critical parties as SERs from the SBREFA process, making it flawed from the start.
“ACA urges the bureau to work collaboratively with regulated entities to develop workable, effective regulation, and to revamp the Bureau’s approach toward SBREFA, in a way that fulfills the statute’s intended purpose, reducing unnecessary burden while achieving appropriate regulatory objectives,” Neeb said.
ACA has a strong focus on advocacy efforts surrounding the BCFP’s pending FDCPA rules, and will continue our regular engagement with the bureau and the SBA Office of Advocacy.
A full copy of the letter sent to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection may also be found on ACA International’s website for members tracking our RFI coverage and comments.
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