As we turn the page on the summer, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is poised to be active – and actively overseen – in the months ahead.  Here’s an overview of some of the issues and events ahead.  

New Leadership

The search for a new Associate Director for Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending is in its final stages.  Here are four things to watch for:

  • This will be one of Director Kraninger’s signature hires as Director, and may contain clues regarding the direction and tone for the rest of her term.
  • The SEFL job posting did not mention the reorganization, proposed by Acting Director Mulvaney in January 2018, that would have moved Fair Lending to the Director’s office.  The announcement of the Associate Director may provide an indication of whether that move has been completed – or abandoned.
  • One early task for the Associate Director will be helping choose a new Assistant Director for Enforcement.  Enforcement has been led by an acting head since May 2019.
  • The appointment of new “policy directors” by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney provided the new Director with a way to help guide senior CFPB staff appointed by Director Cordray.  The appointment of a new Associate Director could mean such guidance is no longer needed – or demonstrate this new approach will be continued.

Calendar of Events 

We anticipate Bureau action on the following fall dates:

  • September 3, 2019:  Certain provisions of the joint Federal Reserve Board and Bureau Regulation CC rule become effective.
  • September 16, 2019:  The comment period closes for the Bureau’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the government-sponsored enterprise patch in the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule.
  • September 18, 2019:  The comment period closes for the Bureau’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act proposed rule.
  • October 15, 2019:  The comment period closes for the Bureau’s May 2019 proposed amendments to Regulation C relating to the coverage thresholds for reporting data on closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit, and partial exemptions under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”).
  • October 15, 2019:  The comment period closes for the Bureau’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the data required by Regulation C, which implements HMDA, and the reporting of certain transactions under Regulation C.
  • December 6, 2019:  The parties must again file a status report in Community Financial Services Association of America v. CFPB, in which the court recently continued its stay of the litigation and the compliance date for both the underwriting provisions and the payment provisions of the Payday Rule.

Other likely events in the fall include:

  • The release of a Bureau study, announced in Director Kraninger’s July 18 remarks before the Exchequer Club in Washington D.C., and conducted in partnership with H&R Block, exploring whether prepaid cards could encourage consumers to save more during tax refund season.
  • The Bureau typically releases its summer edition of Supervisory Highlights in September.
  • The Bureau may hold additional symposia in the fall.  The Bureau held its first symposium on June 25, which focused on defining abusive acts or practices.  Future topics may include behavioral law and economics, small business loan data collection, disparate impact and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, cost-benefit analysis, and consumer authorized financial data sharing.

House Financial Services Committee

House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) has promised vigorous oversight of the CFPB.  In the last month alone, she has:

  • Expressed concern in an August 13 letter to Director Kraninger that the CFPB had failed to fill the position of student loan ombudsman.
  • Expressed concern in an August 21 statement with Director Kraninger’s announcement of Robert G. Cameron as student loan ombudsman.
  • Expressed concern in an August 23 letter with the Bureau’s proposal to rescind the underwriting provisions of the Payday Rule.
  • Announced a hearing on student borrowers and student loan servicers on September 10, 2019.

The Committee’s fall 2019 priorities include oversight hearings with Director Kraninger and a focus on innovations in loan instruments, data privacy, the use of artificial intelligence in financial services, and the evolution of payments.   The following hearings are already scheduled:

  • September 4 at 10:00 AM: “Examining Discrimination and Other Barriers to Consumer Credit, Homeownership, and Financial Inclusion in Texas”
  • September 10 at 10:00 AM: “A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable”
  • September 12 at 9:30 AM: “The Future of Identity in Financial Services: Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities”
  • September 24 at 2:00 PM: “Examining the Racial and Gender Wealth Gap in America”
  • September 26 at 10:00 AM: “Examining Legislation to Protect Consumers and Small Business Owners from Abusive Debt Collection Practices”