CFPB Rulemaking Agenda Hints At No Activity Until After Trump Takes Office; Mentions Separate SBREFA Panel For First-Party Collections

It appears as though the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is done with its rulemaking until after President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, 2017, according to a published report, which was based on a release from the agency last Friday.

“Agenda indicates agency unlikely to finalize any major rule before Trump administration take office,” reads the subheading of an article in the Wall Street Journal, which was based on the release of the CFPB’s rulemaking agenda, which was published on Friday.

The CFPB is required to publish its regulatory agenda twice per year. It offers insight into the items being worked on at the agency, and an update as to the progress being made on proposed rules.

Progress on a proposed debt collection rule was noted in the agenda.

The Bureau is engaged in developing proposed rules to regulate debt collection practices. The federal government for many years has received more consumer complaints about debt collectors than about any other single industry. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, abusive, and other unlawful collection practices, but no federal agency was vested with authority to issue general implementing regulations prior to the creation of the CFPB. Building on the Bureau’s November 2013, Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Bureau released materials in July 2016 in advance of convening a panel under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration’s Chief Counsel for Advocacy. The purpose of the panel was to consult with small businesses that are considered “debt collectors” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The CFPB has also been analyzing the results of a survey to obtain information from consumers about their experiences with debt collection and plans to publish a report on the survey in coming months.

The CFPB did disclose that it is working on a separate SBREFA panel for first-party collections, which is hopes to convene next year. Convening a separate SBREFA panel would mean that the CFPB would have to publish separate proposals for the panel of small business representatives to consider, a necessary step prior to issuing a proposed rule. When it released the SBREFA proposals for third-party collections in  late July the CFPB said it would work on first-party collections separately.

The CFPB also highlighted work on its proposed rule that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in most consumer financial contracts, and a proposed rule that would regulate payday lending, title lending, and other “high-cost” financial products.

Regarding both the arbitration rule as well as the payday and title lending rule, the CFPB said it was in the “process of reviewing comments.”

The information in the rulemaking agenda is considered current as of Oct. 19, 2016, according to the CFPB.

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