ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals, reported that on Dec. 11, 2012 the U.S. Senate passed legislation — previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives — which will ensure protection when turning over legally privileged communications to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

H.R. 4014 will amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA) to add the CFPB to the list of banking regulators, clarifying that legal privilege is not waived when legally privileged communications are shared with the bureau.

ACA noted that it pinpointed the passage of H.R. 4014 as one of its top legislative priorities during the 112th Congress. Accordingly, ACA worked in conjunction with other like-minded industries to engage with members of Congress and their staff to illuminate how crucial this issue is to the credit and collection industry.  ACA also filed formal comments with the CFPB expressing concerns that there were no protections found in law when providing privileged communication to the bureau.  Further, through the formal comments ACA urged the CFPB to defer this issue to Congress.

ACA thanked participants of a Washington, D.C., Fall Fly-In and other ACA members, who were instrumental in delivering the message about the importance of this issue to their members of Congress.

“In an extremely divided Congress, and a fairly unproductive lame duck session, passage of this legislation was no small feat,” the association said. “As our members prepare to be under federal regulatory supervision for the first time, ACA is thankful that the passage of this legislation may provide greater clarity and protections for members of the industry to engage with legal counsel and seek necessary guidance. Although ACA members have long been subject to compliance with numerous laws and regulations enforced by regulators, issues related to direct federal supervision enhance the need for open and candid discussions between attorneys and clients.”

Since H.R. 4014 has cleared the House and Senate, it will next be sent to the president’s desk where ACA anticipates that it will likely be signed into law.

The ACA is continuing to work to educate its membership about CFPB supervision and regulation and has set up a CFPB resource center for the most up-to-date information.