Today, we’re posting a semi-annual update of our rulemaking agenda in conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions across the federal government. Portions of the Unified Agenda will be published in the Federal Register, and the full set of materials is now available online.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to publish regulatory agendas twice a year. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now by voluntarily participating in the Unified Agenda. Our regulatory agenda includes rulemaking actions in the following stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long term actions, and completed actions.
Our agenda includes certain mortgage rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. For example, in July 2014 we released a proposal to amend Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act’s amendments to HMDA, and to help align the law with existing industry standards for collecting data on mortgage loans and applications. Additionally, the proposal would revise Regulation C to improve the effectiveness of HMDA, including changes to institutional and transactional coverage, modifications of reporting requirements, and clarifications of existing regulatory provisions.
We’re also focused intensely on supporting the implementation process for our recent rulemaking (TRID Final Rule) to implement a Dodd-Frank Act directive to consolidate and streamline federal mortgage disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. For example, in October 2014 we released a proposal to provide for technical corrections to the rule text and commentary in the TRID Final Rule; allow for the placement of certain language related to new construction loans to be added to the Loan Estimate form; and relax the timing requirement that creditors provide revised disclosures on the same day that a consumer’s rate is locked. We’re also continuing work with stakeholders to address questions that have arisen with regard to the 2013 mortgage rules, including issuing additional clarifications and amendments as warranted. For example, we just released a proposal this week that would amend various aspects of the 2013 mortgage servicing rules, including disclosures, early intervention, and loss mitigation. The proposal also addresses proper compliance with the rules when a consumer is a potential or confirmed successor in interest, is in bankruptcy, or sends a cease communication request under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
We released a proposal last week to create comprehensive consumer protections for prepaid financial products such as general purpose reloadable prepaid cards (GPR cards) and certain digital and mobile wallets. Under the proposal, consumers acquiring such products would receive a number of Regulation E protections, such as getting disclosures about fees before they acquire a prepaid cards and error resolution rights. Their liability would also be capped for unauthorized use of their prepaid card under certain conditions.
Additionally, prepaid products that access overdraft services or credit features for a fee would generally be credit cards subject to TILA and Regulation Z, including Regulation Z’s credit card rules. These rules include ability-to-repay requirements and fee limits during the first year of account opening. Consumers that choose to access overdraft services or credit features would be given at least 21 days to repay the debt incurred in connection with using such services or features. Incoming funds would not automatically be debited to pay the debt whenever the funds are loaded.
The Bureau is considering what rules may be appropriate for addressing the sustained use of short-term, high-cost credit products. We published research on payday lending and so-called deposit advance products in an April 2013 white paper and a March 2014 data point. In addition to conducting additional research, we are evaluating what types of rules would be appropriate and warranted under CFPB authorities. Rulemaking might include disclosures or address acts or practices in connection with these products.
Defining larger participants
We’re continuing rulemakings to implement our supervisory program for certain nonbank entities by defining “larger participants” in various markets for consumer financial products and services. For example, we released a proposal to identify “larger participants” in the market for auto lending and defining certain automobile leasing activity as a financial product or service. We also finalized a rule defining larger participants in the international money transfer market. So far, we’ve defined larger participants in the consumer debt collection, credit reporting, and student loan servicing markets.
We received more than 23,000 comments earlier this year in response to our advanced notice of proposed rulemaking released in November 2013. We are considering whether rules governing the collection of debts are warranted under the FDCPA or other CFPB authorities, and, if so, what types of rules would be appropriate. Rulemaking might include disclosures or address acts or practices in connection with debt collection activities. We are developing a survey to obtain information from consumers about their experiences with debt collectors and are engaged in qualitative testing to determine what information would be useful for consumers to have about debt collection and how that information should be provided to them.
Our 2014 Report on the FDCPA reported that we received more than 30,000 consumer complaints in this area from July 2013 through December 2013. Since January 2014 to now, we have received more than 79,000 consumer complaints.
We’re continuing to research overdraft services and considering whether rules governing overdraft and related services are warranted and what such rules may be. A possible rulemaking might include disclosures or address specific acts or practices. In July 2014, we released a report, based on data from sources we used in our June 2013 white paper of our initial analysis of overdraft practices. The July 2014 report provided additional information about the outcomes of consumers who do and do not opt in to overdraft coverage for ATM and one-time debit card transactions. The report also explored the transactions that overdraw consumer accounts.
In the Spring 2014 Unified Agenda, we stated that we expected to issue a proposal regarding the notices that consumers receive each year from their financial institutions to explain the companies’ information sharing practices, as part of our regulatory streamlining efforts. We released the final rule in October 2014. It provides that financial institutions that restrict their information sharing practices and meet other requirements may post their annual privacy notices to customers under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act online, rather than delivering them individually.
We’re continuing research, analysis, and outreach on a number of other consumer financial services markets, and will update our next semi-annual agenda to reflect the results of further prioritization and planning.