CFPB Issues First Annual FDCPA Report to Congress

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Tuesday issued its first annual report to Congress detailing its actions administering the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 2011.

The FDCPA requires an annual report to Congress from the agency administering the law. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had been responsible for the reports since 1977. But the creation of the CFPB by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act shifted responsibility to the new agency.

The CFPB noted that its “program to administer and enforce the FDCPA has only just begun,” conceding that it came into being in July 2011 and did not have a director until early this year. To bolster the 2011 FDCPA report, the FTC submitted a letter to the CFPB detailing its own actions during the year under the law, which included enforcement actions.

The CFPB’s report was largely devoted to background information on the FDCPA, discussion of consumer complaints citing the FDCPA, and the FTC’s enforcement actions. The CFPB did note, however, that it filed three amicus briefs in cases pertaining to the law.

Supervision of large debt collectors by the CFPB also got plenty of attention in the report. The agency referenced its proposed rule on that front and noted that “if the rule is finalized as proposed, debt collectors and credit reporting agencies that qualify as larger participants would be subject to the same supervision process as banks and other nonbanks subject to the Bureau’s supervision. The proposed rule will remain open for comment until April 17, 2012, sixty days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”

The entire report is available on the CFPB’s Web site.

Continuing the Discussion

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  • avatar Craig Klein says:

    I know they indicated that the threshold for “large” agencies was the $10M mark. No one has ever answered whether or not that was gross collections or agency revenue. Does anyone reading this have an answer?

  • avatar Patrick Lunsford says:

    Craig: there is not a definitive answer on that question yet. However, the CFPB’s language concerning the $10 million is “annual receipts.” Since the annual receipts standard applies to all other business types the CFPB is supervising, we are assuming that it means revenue (in other words, the word “receipts” is not specific to just debt collectors).

    But again, that’s just an assumption and has not been specifically clarified.

  • avatar JCT says:

    From the Federal Register, “Defining Larger Participants in Certain Consumer Financial Product and Service Markets”, February 17, 2012. Paragraph Citation 77 FR 9594,
    Page 9594.

    “For the debt collection and consumer reporting markets, the Bureau is proposing a test that measures the criterion of “annual receipts.” This measurement will use a definition of “annual receipts” adapted from the definition of the term used by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for purposes of defining small business concerns. The proposed threshold for the consumer debt collection market is more than $10 million in annual receipts and, for the consumer reporting market, is more than $7 million in annual receipts. Under the tests set forth in the Proposed Rule, these receipts must result from activities related to the market in question. Covered persons meeting the proposed tests would qualify as larger participants and be subject to the Bureau’s supervision authority under section 1024 of the Act.”

    Perhaps this would help.

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