Bloomberg Proposal Calls For More Consumer Protections, Tougher Rules for Debt Collectors

In advance of his participation for the first time in a Democratic debate, former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has released a “financial reform policy” that strengthens consumer protections and details specific steps he would take to regulate the collections industry if he were to be elected president this November.

Among many of the proposals included in Bloomberg’s plan are steps to “reinvigorate” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by “ensuring continued funding and appointing a director who will put consumers’ interests first.”

Taking a page from the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer advocacy group, Bloomberg then tackles the changes he would make to the debt collection process, including:

  • Limiting debt collection calls to three attempts per week per consumer, and conversations to one per week.
  • Requiring debt collectors to communicate with the consumer before furnishing information to a credit reporting agency.
  • Requiring collection attorneys to verify the amount owed, the identity of the debtor and the client’s right to sue before filing any debt collection lawsuit.
  • Requiring proof of original debt upon consumer request, and cessation of all collection efforts until such proof is provided.

Analysts were quick to call the release an orchestrated move in advance of tonight’s Democratic debate and, should Bloomberg earn the Democratic nomination and win in November, much of what he proposed would likely not happen.

“Bloomberg is in a Democratic presidential primary, and these proposals are being made with that in mind,” wrote analysts from Capital Alpha, according to a published report. “Even if he were to become president and push for these ideas, many would be subject to congressional and regulatory approval. And many surely would be ditched or watered down.”

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