ACA Responds to Regulatory Clarity Options in CFPB Pilot Advisory Opinion Program

Comments on program focus on the need for guidance on compliance expectations that will benefit businesses and consumers.

8/21/2020 8:00 AM

AdvocacyNewsCFPB
ACA Responds to Regulatory Clarity Options in CFPB Pilot Advisory Opinion Program

ACA International is asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide clarity on regulations and compliance for the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry as it continues to develop its Pilot Advisory Opinion (AO) Program.

The CFPB recently launched the Pilot AO Program to publicly address regulatory uncertainty in the bureau’s existing regulations and sought comments from stakeholders.

“ACA welcomes the bureau’s acknowledgment that providing clear and useful guidance to regulated entities is an important aspect of facilitating markets that serve consumers,” said Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey in comments to the CFPB on the program. “We believe the Pilot AO Program is a positive development and could be an important tool for the accounts receivable management industry.”

ACA has advocated for clear guidance from the CFPB and appreciates the opportunities the pilot program will present for members and the ARM industry. In previous comments to the CFPB, ACA expressed support of the bureau’s desire to provide clear guidance, interpretation and explanation regarding the bureau’s expectations of regulated entities like ACA members.

Key points in ACA’s comments on the Pilot AO Program include:

  • The CFPB states that the primary purpose of the Pilot AO Program is to provide a mechanism through which the bureau may more effectively carry out its statutory purposes and objectives by better enabling compliance in the face of regulatory uncertainty. ACA agrees with the bureau that it is a necessary and important program that will provide benefits to consumers and regulated entities by clarifying compliance expectations.
  • ACA agrees that it is appropriate to allow trade associations to submit a request for an AO. The bureau states that the trade association member the AO is being brought on behalf of does not need to be named unless it is the subject of an enforcement action. This is critical since ACA members are often the victims of frivolous litigation, as we previously identified in our September 2019 comments on the proposed debt collection rule.
  • It is also crucial to allow ACA and other trade association to seek AOs because it will allow small businesses, who may otherwise have fewer compliance resources, to have an avenue for seeking clarity.
  • ACA recommends to the bureau that it consider expanding the scope of the AO Pilot Program to include questions regarding implementation of final rules, or problems encountered therein. ACA fully understands that AOs cannot rewrite rules. However, AOs should be used to point out difficulties in compliance and offer recommendations for the bureau to enhance rules when necessary.
  • ACA also suggests regular coordination with trade associations, such as ACA, to ensure the ARM industry is educated about any recent AOs.

The pilot program will focus on four key priorities, according to the CFPB:

  • Consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions;
  • Identify outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations in order to reduce regulatory burdens;
  • Consistency in enforcement of federal consumer financial law in order to promote fair competition; and
  • Ensuring markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.

If deemed appropriate, the bureau will issue an AO based on its summary of the facts presented that would be applicable to other entities in situations with similar facts and circumstances. The AOs would be posted on the bureau’s website and published in the Federal Register.  

The proposed AO program will be fully implemented after the bureau’s review of comments received.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

ACA Responds to Regulatory Clarity Options in CFPB Pilot Advisory Opinion Program

ACA International is asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide clarity on regulations and compliance for the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry as it continues to develop its Pilot Advisory Opinion (AO) Program.

The CFPB recently launched the Pilot AO Program to publicly address regulatory uncertainty in the bureau’s existing regulations and sought comments from stakeholders.

“ACA welcomes the bureau’s acknowledgment that providing clear and useful guidance to regulated entities is an important aspect of facilitating markets that serve consumers,” said Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey in comments to the CFPB on the program. “We believe the Pilot AO Program is a positive development and could be an important tool for the accounts receivable management industry.”

ACA has advocated for clear guidance from the CFPB and appreciates the opportunities the pilot program will present for members and the ARM industry. In previous comments to the CFPB, ACA expressed support of the bureau’s desire to provide clear guidance, interpretation and explanation regarding the bureau’s expectations of regulated entities like ACA members.

Key points in ACA’s comments on the Pilot AO Program include:

  • The CFPB states that the primary purpose of the Pilot AO Program is to provide a mechanism through which the bureau may more effectively carry out its statutory purposes and objectives by better enabling compliance in the face of regulatory uncertainty. ACA agrees with the bureau that it is a necessary and important program that will provide benefits to consumers and regulated entities by clarifying compliance expectations.
  • ACA agrees that it is appropriate to allow trade associations to submit a request for an AO. The bureau states that the trade association member the AO is being brought on behalf of does not need to be named unless it is the subject of an enforcement action. This is critical since ACA members are often the victims of frivolous litigation, as we previously identified in our September 2019 comments on the proposed debt collection rule.
  • It is also crucial to allow ACA and other trade association to seek AOs because it will allow small businesses, who may otherwise have fewer compliance resources, to have an avenue for seeking clarity.
  • ACA recommends to the bureau that it consider expanding the scope of the AO Pilot Program to include questions regarding implementation of final rules, or problems encountered therein. ACA fully understands that AOs cannot rewrite rules. However, AOs should be used to point out difficulties in compliance and offer recommendations for the bureau to enhance rules when necessary.
  • ACA also suggests regular coordination with trade associations, such as ACA, to ensure the ARM industry is educated about any recent AOs.

The pilot program will focus on four key priorities, according to the CFPB:

  • Consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions;
  • Identify outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome regulations in order to reduce regulatory burdens;
  • Consistency in enforcement of federal consumer financial law in order to promote fair competition; and
  • Ensuring markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.

If deemed appropriate, the bureau will issue an AO based on its summary of the facts presented that would be applicable to other entities in situations with similar facts and circumstances. The AOs would be posted on the bureau’s website and published in the Federal Register.  

The proposed AO program will be fully implemented after the bureau’s review of comments received.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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