The release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB or Bureau) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) for debt collection is imminent; could it be happening next week? Many are speculating that the Bureau’s forthcoming Town Hall meeting in Philadelphia on May 8 will coincide with the NPRM’s release.
The timeline makes sense, considering that on April 18, the Bureau's Director Kathleen Kraninger announced that the NPRM's release will be “in the coming week.” In that same announcement, Kraninger mentioned that the NRPM will contain provisions for call caps and the use of email and text messages when communicating with consumers.
The Town Hall meeting, which will be available for live stream on the CFPB’s website at 12:00 PM EDT, will feature “remarks from Director Kraninger as well as comments from community groups, industry representatives, and members of the public.”
It’s been a long road since the Bureau first announced its intention to create debt collection rules back in 2013, so it is comforting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, the end of the tunnel is not yet here and there is still work to do.
If the NPRM is indeed released on May 8, there will be a public opportunity to comment (typically 30-60 days, but it could be 180 days or more depending on the complexity of the rulemaking, according to a Federal Register's guide on the rulemaking process). Debt collectors should take this opportunity seriously and submit their well-thought out comments, both through industry associations and as individual businesses. It's probably safe to assume that consumer groups are rallying to submit many comments; it is important that the industry’s perspective is also heard.