CFPB Launches Program to Promote ‘Consistent’ Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws, Including the FDCPA

Looking to keep its fellow regulators on the same page, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced a plan to provide guidance to other federal agencies charged with enforcing consumer protection laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, while also helping companies complying with those laws to have them applied consistently.

The CFPB will issue what it calls Consumer Financial Protection Circulars to the other regulators, and will also make them publicly available as well, to increase transparency.

“Many entities are subject to the jurisdiction of multiple agencies, and to maintain certainty of expectations for those companies with multiple regulators, it is important for state and federal government agencies to consistently enforce the laws that the CFPB administers,” the CFPB said in announcing the new program. “Consistency is also imperative to creating a level playing field between companies that compete in the same market but are subject to the jurisdiction of different enforcers.”

The first circular, which the CFPB released yesterday, dealt with deceptive use of the FDIC’s logo to misrepresent that consumers’ deposits will be insured. The circular answered the question “When do representations involving the name or logo of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or about deposit insurance constitute a deceptive act or practice in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA)?”

With respect to the FDCPA, while the CFPB is the law’s primary enforcer, the Federal Trade Commission also has enforcement authority and has frequently taken up cases of what it deems to be egregious violations of the law.

The circulars are likely to serve as a window into the enforcement priorities for the CFPB, and should be used by companies in the accounts receivable management industry to raise awareness of areas that may be targeted by regulators during examinations and investigations.

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