With the CFPB’s rulemaking announcement only a few days old, many members of the debt collection industry are getting their ducks in a row to take advantage of a rare opportunity to influence regulations.

The CFPB announced Wednesday that it has started to exercise its rulemaking authority by formally issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Bureau is seeking feedback from the public on any rules it may make to govern debt collectors. A comment period, which commenced Wednesday, will last 90 days.

The Bureau is encouraging everyone, literally everyone, to comment. And they’re spreading the word rapidly. Even the White House is pushing for comments.

Fortunately, the CFPB has made the comment process as easy as possible. The CFPB is working with the Cornell University e-Rulemaking Initiative to make it easier for the public to comment through a project called Regulation Room. Regulation Room provides an online environment for people and groups to easily learn about, discuss, and react to proposed rules or notices by federal agencies. The process includes informal and short comments. The CFPB’s debt collection section at RegulationRoom.org can be found here.

Comments are also being accepted through the more formal federal site regulations.gov.

But the Notice itself is 114 pages long and goes into quite a bit of detail. In other words, responding and commenting will take some effort.

Industry groups are already moving to ensure debt collectors have a say in new rules.

ACA International immediately responded to the announcement saying, “ACA anticipated the CFPB’s plans to make rules regarding the collection of consumer debt and will continue to proactively work with the Bureau to include the insightful perspective of the Accounts Receivables Management (ARM) industry. We intend to carefully review the ANPR and provide relevant comments based on the insights of our membership within the defined 90-day timeframe for submission.”

The trade group is currently hosting its annual Fall Forum in Chicago and the CFPB’s notice is a hot topic. It will be holding a teleseminar next Thursday for members next week to discuss the group’s response and next steps.

Debt buyers’ trade group DBA International similarly responded to the news. It is offering continuing education credits for a webinar being hosted next Friday by Maurice & Needleman. That webinar is co-sponsored by the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA).

Newly formed industry group, the Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) – which currently represents more than a dozen large market participants – is also preparing a coordinated effort to respond to the ANPR. The CRC is especially focused on collaborating with consumer advocacy groups in order to inform its positions.

Here at insideARM.com, we are also hosting a free webinar next Wednesday to provide more information to anyone interested in responding and commenting. Our session will feature ARM attorneys John Bedard, Ron Canter, and John Rossman. Like the others, we’ll explain the process, what to target for comment, and how to craft a response. 

Next week will present plenty of opportunity for the ARM industry to get involved in the process. We suggest taking some to read the full notice from the CFPB and listening in on the various presentations. There may not ever be another opportunity like this.