The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education announced a new agreement yesterday to work together and share information, defrosting an icy relationship that had lasted for more than two years.
The Education Department had canceled a joint enforcement agreement it had with the CFPB back in 2017. Back then, the Department had accused the CFPB of not forwarding complaints fast enough and expanding its jurisdiction beyond what Congress intended.
The new Memorandum of Understanding covers handling of complaints, permissible uses of confidentiality of exchanged information, and sharing of data analytics.
“This agreement concerning student loan complaints will protect students as both the Bureau and the Education Department work to resolve their complaints,” said Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the CFPB, in a statement. “This MOU provides a robust framework that allows for the staff at both agencies to work together to provide better outcomes for consumers.”
While the new agreement does not cover enforcement activities, it does appear to be a step in the right direction toward the two agencies working together again.
“All student loan borrowers, whether they have a Federally-held or private student loan, deserve world-class service and quick resolution when facing issues,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement. “Through this new agreement with the CFPB, we will coordinate our regulatory efforts, avoid needless duplication, and protect student loan borrowers.”
Back in 2018, the CFPB accused the Department of Education of refusing to share documents to help the CFPB in its lawsuit against Navient, the nation’s largest student loan servicer. Navient said it needed special permission from the Education Department to release documents to the CFPB, and the Department never gave its permission.