Reading an article about a letter that was sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by Sen. Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio], I was struck by a question that had, until that moment, not occurred to me: for how long will release of the CFPB’s debt collection rule be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Sen. Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, sent a letter to all independent federal regulators, asking them to stop the rulemaking process which could impede on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The list of regulators included the CFPB, and the list of pending rules would likely include not only the proposed debt collection rule, but also the proposed supplemental rule related to time-barred debt disclosures (for which ACA International has asked the CFPB to extend the comment period deadline, according to a published report).
In his letter, Sen. Brown called on the CFPB to suspend or extend “all rulemakings and comment periods closing after March 1, 2020 that are not directly related to the virus response or other imminent health, safety, or national security threats” for at least 45 days.
“The COVID-19 virus threatens both the health of the public and the economy,” wrote Sen. Brown in the letter. “It presents immediate challenges to real households and every entity in the housing market, from frontline homelessness providers to homeowners. In light of this crisis, we urge you to implement an immediate moratorium on rulemakings not related to the virus response or other imminent health and safety concerns.”
While the CFPB had not committed to a date for releasing the final proposed debt collection rule, it has previously indicated it would likely do so this year. The proposed rule was released last May and more than 12,000 comments were filed in response. The next step in the process is to release the final rule, at which point companies will likely have a year to prepare before the rule goes into effect.