Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it launched the American Consumer Financial Innovation Network (ACFIN) to promote innovation within the financial sector while also ensuring such advances are safe for consumers. Joining the CFPB as initial members of ACFIN are Attorneys General from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The CFPB invited all state regulators to participate.
In the CFPB’s announcement, Director Kathleen Kraninger writes:
Federal and state coordination promotes consistency in the regulation of consumer financial products and services while facilitating consumer-beneficial innovation. ACFIN will provide a platform for Federal and State regulators to coordinate with each other as they develop new rules of the road and apply existing ones. This coordination can provide greater regulatory certainty across jurisdictions and allow regulators to keep pace with market developments. I will continue to work to encourage other state regulators to join this important new initiative that will foster collaboration among Federal and State regulators.
Separately, the CFPB also announced today that it issued three new policies to promote innovation and benefit consumers: a new No-Action Letter Policy, a Trial Disclosure Program Policy, and a Compliance Assistance Sandbox Policy.
Concurrently, the CFPB issued its first No-Action Letter (NAL) under its new NAL Policy. The purpose of NALs is to promote innovation in products and services that are beneficial to consumers by removing the fear of a supervisory or enforcement action by the CFPB. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received the first NAL under the new policy to promote housing counseling agencies and lenders to enter into agreements that fund counseling services without the uncertainty of RESPA.
In this announcement, Kraninger states:
Innovation drives competition, which can lower prices and offer consumers more and better products and services. New products and services can expand financial options, especially to unbanked and underbanked households, giving more consumers access to the benefits of the financial system. The three policies we are announcing today are common-sense policies that will foster innovation that ultimately benefits consumers.
Innovation in the consumer financial marketplace is important, especially in debt collection—where currently laws and regulations often prevent the use of modern technology. insideARM’s Innovation Council works towards this goal by seeking to advance the adoption of modern, efficient and consumer-friendly technologies within the collection landscape. The Bureau’s new policies are promising as they show its dedication toward ensuring that new, innovating financial products and services get to be explored and see the light of day.