This statement was released yesterday afternoon by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today announced that it is issuing a call for evidence to ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect consumers. In coming weeks, the Bureau will be publishing in the Federal Register a series of Requests for Information (RFIs) seeking comment on enforcement, supervision, rulemaking, market monitoring, and education activities. These RFIs will provide an opportunity for the public to submit feedback and suggest ways to improve outcomes for both consumers and covered entities.
“In this New Year, and under new leadership, it is natural for the Bureau to critically examine its policies and practices to ensure they align with the Bureau’s statutory mandate. Moving forward, the Bureau will consistently seek out constructive feedback and welcome ideas for improvement,” said Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. “Much can be done to facilitate greater consumer choice and efficient markets, while vigorously enforcing consumer financial law in a way that guarantees due process. I look forward to receiving public comments in response to this call for evidence and encourage all interested parties to participate.”
The first RFI issued by the Bureau will seek public comment on Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs), which are issued during an enforcement investigation. Comments received in response to this RFI will help the Bureau evaluate existing CID processes and procedures, and to determine whether any changes are warranted.
Interestingly, the announcement is titled, "Acting Director Mulvaney Announces Call for Evidence Regarding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Functions." (emphasis added)
This comes on the heels of yesterday's statement by the Bureau that it intends to reconsider the rule entitled, "Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans,” which was scheduled to take effect (at least in part) yesterday.
After less than 8 weeks in office, Acting Director Mulvaney has already picked up the pace of rollbacks and changes to CFPB policy. Other examples include:
- Announced new staff additions -- several of them on loan from Mulvaney's other place of work, the Office of Management and Budget.
- Abandoned the planned consumer debt collection disclosure survey.
- Announced that the Bureau does not intend to assess penalties for errors in data collected in 2018, and plans to reconsider aspects of the Mortgage Data Rule.
- Hired new Chief of Staff, the former Staff Director of the House Financial Services Committee under Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Hensarling famously opposes the concept of the CFPB.
- Updated the stated mission of the Bureau.
Following years of feeling that consumer advocates had the primary ear of the CFPB, industry appears to have an opportunity to be heard in the coming months. Larger debt collectors will no doubt have input as it relates to the CID process, identified as the first topic on the list.
If I could make a suggestion to Acting Director Mulvaney and his staff... I suspect that if you asked your Ombudsman, Wendy Kamenshine, she could tell you a lot about what a variety of stakeholders have to say. The Office has held several Forums, including at least two I can recall for industry representatives. A great deal of detailed, candid feedback was shared at those in-person events by a wide variety of organizations. The notes ought to be very insightful.