The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday announced a number of new initiatives, including asking Congress to give the agency more power to reward whistleblowers and launching a program to allow companies to request advisory opinions to help codify how to address specific issues.
The agency also announced the release of an updated responsible conduct bulletin, which details how companies can be credited for their self-assessments, self-reporting, remediation, and cooperation.
“These steps reinforce the Bureau’s commitment to preventing consumer harm,” said Kathleen Kraninger, director of the CFPB, in a statement. “Advisory opinions will ensure that companies know what compliance entails and what constitutes a violation. We also want to incentivize whistleblowers to contact us if they believe their employer is not complying with the law.”
In seeking Congress’s approval to develop a whistleblower reward program, the CFPB intends to award between $50,000 and $10,000,000 to individuals who provide “original information relating to a violation of Federal consumer financial law,” according to draft legislation that has been circulated to leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
What is ultimately rewarded will be a percentage of what is collected in terms of monetary sanctions, ranging between 10% and 30%. In the event that at least $1 million in penalties is not collected, the minimum award will be $50,000.
The CFPB would determine the amount awarded to a whistleblower or whistleblowers at its sole discretion, based on a number of criteria, including:
- The significance of the information provided by the whistleblower to the successful enforcement of the administrative proceeding or court action;
- The degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower and any legal representative of the whistleblower in an administrative proceeding or court action;
- The programmatic interest of the Bureau in deterring violations of Federal consumer financial law (including applicable regulations) by making awards to whistleblowers who provide information that leads to the successful enforcement of such laws; and
- Such additional relevant factors as the Bureau may establish by rule or regulation.