On November 20, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “Bureau” or “CFPB”) published its Fall 2019 Rulemaking Agenda (the “Rulemaking Agenda”) as part of the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Rulemaking Agenda sets forth the matters that the Bureau reasonably anticipates having under consideration during the period from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020. The Rulemaking Agenda is the first Unified Agenda prepared by the CFPB since Director Kraninger embarked on her “listening tour” shortly after taking office in December 2018. Below we highlight some of the key agenda items discussed in the Rulemaking Agenda.
Implementing Statutory Directives
In the Rulemaking Agenda, the Bureau indicates that it is engaged in a number of rulemakings to implement directives mandated in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (“EGRRCPA”), the Dodd-Frank Act and other statutes. For example:
Truth in Lending Act
In March 2019, the Bureau published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPR”) seeking public comment relating to the implementation of section 307 of the EGRRCPA, which amends the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) to mandate that the Bureau prescribe certain regulations relating to “Property Assessed Clean Energy” (“PACE”) financing. The Bureau indicated that it is reviewing the comments it has received in response to the ANPR as it considers next steps to facilitate the development of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”).
TRID Rule Guidance
The Bureau has also been engaged in several other activities to support its rulemaking to implement the EGRRCPA. For example, the Bureau noted that it has (i) updated its small entity compliance guides and other compliance aids to reflect the EGRRCPA’s statutory changes; and (ii) issued written guidance as encouraged by section 109 of the EGRRCPA, which provides that the Bureau “should endeavor to provide clearer, authoritative guidance” on the CFPB’s TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule.
Implementation of Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank
Additionally, the Bureau is undertaking certain activities to facilitate its mandate to prescribe rules implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require financial institutions to collect, report, and make public certain information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses. For example, on November 6, 2019, the Bureau hosted a symposium on small business data collection in order to facilitate a discussion with outside experts on the issues implicated by creating such a data collection and reporting regime.
We have previously issued an advisory in which we discuss the key mortgage servicing takeaways from the EGRRCPA.
Continuation of the CFPB’s Spring 2019 Rulemaking Agenda
The Rulemaking Agenda notes that the Bureau will continue with certain other rulemakings that were described in its Spring 2019 Agenda that are intended to “articulate clear rules of the road for regulated entities that promote competition, increase transparency, and preserve fair markets for financial products and services.” Such rulemakings include:
HMDA and Regulation C
In May 2019, the Bureau issued a NPRM to (i) reconsider the thresholds for reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under the Bureau’s 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”) Rule and to incorporate into Regulation C an interpretive and procedural rule that the Bureau issued in August 2018 in order to implement certain partial HMDA exemptions created by the EGRRCPA. In summer 2020, the Bureau is expecting to issue an NPRM to follow-up on an ANPR issued in May 2019 related to data points and coverage of certain business- or commercial-purpose loans. The Bureau also anticipates issuing a NPRM addressing the public disclosure of HMDA data in light of consumer privacy interests to allow the Bureau to concurrently consider the collection and reporting of data points and the public disclosure of those data points.
Proposed Regulation F
In May 2019, the Bureau issued a NPRM which would, for the first time, prescribe substantive rules under Regulation F, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, to govern the activities of debt collectors (the “Proposed Rule”). The Proposed Rule would address several issues related to debt collection, such as (i) addressing communications in connection with debt collection; (ii) interpreting and applying prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices in debt collection; and (iii) clarifying requirements for certain consumer-facing debt collection disclosures. The Bureau noted that it is also engaged in testing of consumer disclosures relating to time time-barred debt disclosure issues that were not part of the Proposed Rule. The results of the CFPB’s testing will inform the Bureau’s assessment of whether to issue a supplemental NPRM seeking comments on any disclosure proposals related to the collection of time-barred debt.
We previously published a five-part blog series in which we discussed the provisions of the Proposed Rule that are under consideration. We will continue to monitor and report on any developments related to the Proposed Rule.
Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans (the “Payday Rule”)
The Bureau is expecting to take final action in April 2020 on the NPRM issued in February 2019 related to the reconsideration of the mandatory underwriting requirements of the 2017 Payday Rule. That said, we note that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has stayed the Payday Rule’s August 19, 2019 compliance date. The parties before the court have a status hearing on December 6, 2019 which could affect the stay and the effective date of the Payday Rule.
In addition, the Rulemaking Agenda notes that the Bureau is planning to issue a proposal this year to amend the CFPB’s Remittance Rule to address the effects of the expiration in July 2020 of the Rule’s temporary exception allowing institutions to estimate fees and exchange rates in certain circumstances.
New Rulemakings and Review of Existing Regulations
Expiration of the “GSE Patch”
In January 2019, the Bureau completed an assessment of certain rules that require mortgage lenders to make a reasonable and good faith determination that consumers have a reasonable ability to repay certain mortgage loans and that define certain “qualified mortgages” that a lender may presume comply with the statutory ability-to-repay requirement. The “GSE Patch” is set to expire in January 2021, meaning that loans eligible to be purchased or guaranteed by GSEs that are originated after that date would not be eligible for qualified mortgage status under its criteria. In July 2019, the Bureau issued an ANPR to amend Regulation Z, regarding the scheduled expiration of the GSE Patch, and is currently reviewing the comments it received since the comment period closed on September 2019.
As noted in a previous blog post, the CFPB announced in its ANPR, that the Bureau does not intend to extend the GSE patch permanently. It will be interesting to see whether the Bureau will allow the patch to expire in January 2021 as planned of if the Bureau will use this as an opportunity to possibly extend the expiration date.
Addition of New Regulatory Agenda Items
In response to feedback received in response to the Bureau’s 2018 Call for Evidence and other outreach efforts, the Bureau is adding two new items to its long-term regulatory agenda to address concerns related to (i) loan originator compensation; and (ii) the use of electronic channels of communication in the origination and servicing of credit card accounts.
Review of Existing Regulations
The Rulemaking Agenda also highlights the Bureau’s active review of existing regulations. For example, the CFPB will be assessing its so-called TRID Rule pursuant to Section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the CFPB to publish a report assessing the effectiveness of each “significant rule or order” within five years of it taking effect. The Bureau must issue a report with the results of its assessment by October 2020.
The Rulemaking Agenda further notes that, in 2020, the Bureau expects to conduct a 610 RFA review of the Regulation Z rules that implemented the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. Section 610 of the RFA requires federal agencies to review each rule that has or will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within 10 years of publication of the final rule.
The Bureau’s Rulemaking Agenda gives industry an advanced look at what to expect from the CFPB in the coming months. We expect the Bureau to be active in working through their agenda and will provide further updates as they become available.
* We would like to thank Associate, David McGee, for his contributions to this blog post.