A trade group of bankers has filed its comment and opposes a proposed survey to be conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau related to disclosures provided to individuals because the survey itself has not been subject to a comment period.
The American Bankers Association notes in its letter that the CFPB’s reasons for conducting the survey should be open for comments under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
“We support the Bureau drafting and releasing a ‘model’ validation notice, which would promote consumer understanding while curtailing frivolous litigation regarding the sufficiency of these notices,” the ABA wrote in its comment. “However, the content and form of the notice should be considered as part of the rulemaking process. The survey’s validation notice includes specific information on amounts owed, interest, and fees. The systems and procedures necessary to generate that information quickly and accurately will need to be developed. As part of the rulemaking process, policymakers should compare the cost of generating such infrastructure with the benefit to consumers of having the information presented exactly as shown. Once the Bureau has heard from all interested parties regarding the feasibility of its draft validation notices, then such notices can be put forward for consumer testing.”
Some of the information included in debt collection disclosures deal with statutes of limitations and whether a collector intends to file suit as a means of collecting on a debt, ABA noted. Thus, the disclosures are “essentially legal determinations” that will require new infrastructure which is “not currently in place.” If the survey is conducted, ABA said it is concerned that the CFPB will rely on the data “to justify the inclusion of the disclosures, regardless of practicality or cost,” especially if the CFPB moves forward with its timeline of releasing a proposed rule at some point this month.
The CFPB published an announcement last month, seeking comments on a proposed survey of 8,000 individuals related to debt collection disclosures. This is the second time the CFPB has proposed such a survey be conducted. The previous attempt was canceled as part of a freeze on regulatory actions that was put in place by former acting director Mick Mulvaney.
The ABA noted it had also opposed the previous attempt at conducting the survey and “has broadly opposed CFPB attempts to collect data without providing the public a meaningful opportunity to comment on the utility and feasibility of the data being collected.”
The comment period for the proposal closed yesterday.