CFPB Has Scheduled Exams of Companies, Including Collectors, Outside its Jurisdiction: IG Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending (SEFL) has “inadvertently” scheduled examinations at companies that are outside of its jurisdiction, because it did not have enough information about those companies, according to a report released last week from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The report does not go into specifics detailing how many examinations the SEFL scheduled which were outside of the agency’s jurisdiction, but it does reveal that some of the examinations were of debt collectors. The CFPB “prioritized and scheduled” examinations of debt collectors, only to find out they did not satisfy the Larger Participant Rule and therefore were not subject to the CFPB’s jurisdiction. In two cases, the examinations were canceled prior to their start date, according to the report. In other instances, it was only after the entity completed a pre-examination questionnaire that the CFPB realized it was examining a company that was not under its jurisdiction.

Determining whether a debt collector meets the definition under the Larger Participant Rule is “challenging” because certain types of debt, such as medical debt, do not count toward meeting the necessary threshold, and the types of debt collected by a company is not always publicly available.

In addition to scheduling examinations of companies it did not regulate, the CFPB has also scheduled examinations in the wrong region, according to the report.

To ensure it is regulating only the companies it is supposed to, the CFPB has begun adding extra time into the process of sending an inquiry to a company about its size to avoid canceling an examination at the last minute.

The CFPB acknowledged the recommendations from the Inspector General and agreed to implement them moving forward.

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  1. Sort of a non-story, don’t you think? #fakenews

    The IG didn’t say that the CFPB examined anyone outside of its authority; just that it planned to, then canceled when it realized it didn’t have jurisdiction. In other words, the Bureau did its due diligence, discovered it lacked authority, then canceled the examination.

    Isn’t that what you’d want a prudent regulator to do?

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