BCFP Issues Regulatory Agenda with Update on Debt Collection Rulemaking Process

The spring rulemaking agenda continues to classify the debt collection rulemaking in the proposed stage and projects a notice of proposed rulemaking may be issued in 2019.

5/11/2018 3:00 PM

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BCFP Issues Regulatory Agenda with Update on Debt Collection Rulemaking Process

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection continues to prepare a debt collection rule that “may address such issues as communication practices and consumer disclosures,” according to the bureau’s Spring 2018 Rulemaking Agenda issued May 10.

The bureau has engaged in research and pre-rulemaking activities for debt collection for several years and notes that the proposed rule will focus on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for collectors.

Members of ACA International had the opportunity to participate in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) process after the bureau released an outline of proposals under consideration for the rulemaking in July 2016. The bureau, in partnership with the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, convened a SBREFA panel with representatives of the industry and small businesses that could be impacted by the rulemaking.

Now, following the resignation of Director Richard Cordray and appointment of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, the bureau is taking time to review its processes and functions. Earlier this year, Mulvaney announced a call for evidence and Request for Information series allowing the public and industry professionals to provide feedback. The RFI on adopted regulations and new rulemaking authority, including debt collection, is open through May 21.

ACA International continues to engage with the BCFP about clarifications that would be helpful for the industry, and also provide clarifications about what could harm the ability for important communications with consumers. Additionally, ACA International continues to urge the BCFP to provide accurate and transparent details about its research and complaint database information.

For example, the bureau’s past data on consumer complaints about debt collection (analyzed in ACA International’s white paper “A Review of Debt Collection Complaints Submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Complaint Database in 2017) reflects that the overall raw number of complaint submissions appears to be high for the debt collection industry. However, once the data have been properly contextualized, the number of consumer complaints is remarkably low. This finding remains consistent despite the BCFP’s overly broad characterization of what constitutes a complaint.

It’s also important to note, as ACA International has pointed out previously, the regulatory agendas are only projections of where the BCFP expects to be in a rulemaking; they do not represent any guaranteed timeframe.

According to the bureau, under Mick Mulvaney’s interim leadership, its overall priorities in the regulatory agenda for the coming months include:

  • Meeting specific statutory responsibilities;
  • Continuing selected rulemakings that were already underway; and
  • Reconsidering two regulations issued under the prior leadership (the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and rule for Payday, Vehicle Title and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans.)

The BCFP releases semiannual regulatory agendas in voluntary conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Budget and Management to publish a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions across the federal government.

Read the complete regulatory agenda on the bureau’s website.

ACA has placed a button on its home page for members to easily provide feedback on the BCFP’s RFIs. ACA highly encourages you to submit your detailed input so that we can draft a meaningful comment letter on behalf of the industry.

ACA International looks forward to the opportunity to continue to provide industry input to the bureau and hear more from Acting Director Mulvaney as the keynote speaker of the Washington Insights Conference May 21-23. ACA International members will benefit greatly from Mulvaney’s perspective on the work of the bureau.

Editor’s Note: ACA International henceforth will refer to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), in accordance with the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The bureau, which is also phasing in the change, released an updated seal in April.

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