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CFPB Seeks to Restart Debt Collection Survey, March Timeline for Proposed Rule Release Possibly in Doubt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking permission to conduct an online survey of 8,000 individuals related to debt collection disclosures.

The agency had previously requested permission for the survey, but that request was canceled by former acting director Mick Mulvaney as part of a freeze on regulatory actions that he enacted when he took over from former director Richard Cordray.

“The survey will explore consumer comprehension and decision making in response to debt collection disclosure forms,” according to an announcement that was included in the Federal Register on Monday. “The survey will oversample respondents who have had experience with debt collection in the past.”

In seeking permission for the survey, a 30-day comment period has been opened. Interested parties have until March 6 to submit their comments on the CFPB’s request.

At least one law firm posited that the timing of this announcement makes it seem “unlikely” that the CFPB will be issuing a proposed debt collection rule by the end of March, as has been estimated.

The CFPB is seeking comments on:

  • Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • The accuracy of the Bureau’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methods and the assumptions used;
  • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

The CFPB also published a request for another survey, called “Making Ends Meet Survey,” which would assess “the consumer’s experience related to household financial shocks and how households respond to those shocks,” according to a notice in the Federal Register.

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