ACA Submits Comments in Response to BCFP’s RFI Regarding Enforcement Processes

5/14/2018 8:00 AM

Comments call for Bureau to review enforcement policies and practices, and to institute clear, transparent processes.


On May 14, ACA International submitted comments in response to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s "Request for Information Regarding Bureau Enforcement Processes." The association is actively submitting comments to the Bureau in response to its ongoing series of RFIs.

“ACA International continues to seek a fair, reasonable and transparent regulatory environment for collection professionals,” said Leah Dempsey, ACA International’s vice president and senior counsel of federal advocacy. “ACA will continue to provide feedback to the BCFP about how it can improve its processes to better serve consumers and the industries working with them.”

In the letter, ACA states:

"To fulfill its statutory mission and obligations properly, the Bureau must strictly adhere to fair, clear and transparent enforcement processes and practices. Too often in the past, the Bureau’s actions have fallen short of these standards. Many who have been the subject of enforcement actions view the experience as a one-sided imposition of the Bureau’s interpretation of the law, with firms lacking effective recourse to put forward a contrary view and, more often than not, pressured into settling to avoid the high cost of contesting the allegations. This sense of pressure is particularly strong for small businesses that lack the resources for dealing with an opaque, protracted, and unresponsive process."

"Concerns are widespread about the Bureau’s practice of characterizing conduct as an unfair, deceptive, or abusive act or practice (“UDAAP”) without prior notice, and then holding other businesses accountable under this retroactive interpretation of legally required or proscribed behavior. Moreover, it remains unclear how the Bureau defines UDAAP, with the “unfair” prong continuing to be a particularly subjective matter for individual enforcement attorneys and examiners. Objections on fairness grounds to an enforcement action that faults a business for conduct in the past that was legal at the time have fallen on deaf ears. Other concerns relate to the Bureau’s poor record on communications during the enforcement process. Overall, because of the Bureau’s often agenda-driven rulemaking through the enforcement approach, businesses suffer from a lack of due process in knowing what is expected and required of them. This harms both consumers and industry members who function more efficiently when regulatory expectations are clear."

"ACA strongly urges the Bureau to review its enforcement policies and practices, and to institute fair, clear, and transparent processes that are properly implemented, as the best way to maximize positive results for both regulated entities and consumers."

A full copy of the letter sent to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection can be found on ACA International’s website accessible here.

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