Today, we are posting a semi-annual update to our rulemaking agenda. This is in conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a Unified Agenda of federal regulatory and deregulatory actions across the federal government. Portions of the Unified Agenda are published in the Federal Register, and the full set of materials is available online.
Federal agencies typically release regulatory agendas twice a year. Each spring and fall, OMB and the Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC), work with federal agencies to compile a list that outlines most of the rulemaking activities of the agencies for the coming twelve months. It also includes recently-completed rulemakings. As an independent agency, we are required to publish certain items in the Federal Register by law. We voluntarily participate in the broader Unified Agenda process.
The fall 2013 agenda reflects that we are both continuing to work on rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act and turning our attention to significant issues in other major markets for consumer financial products and services.
In the past year, for example, we have issued rules to implement Dodd-Frank Act requirements and other significant reforms concerning mortgage originations, servicing, and most recently, the federal disclosures that consumers receive shortly after application and shortly before closing. As reflected in the agenda, in 2014 we expect to begin work on some follow-up mortgage issues, such as how to apply certain exemptions under the Dodd-Frank Act that are designed to preserve credit in “rural or underserved” areas. We will also work on a proposed rule to implement Dodd-Frank Act changes to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which will improve the mortgage data that is available to monitor the market and assess fair lending practices.
In addition, the agenda reflects that we are planning to move forward with a proposed rule with respect to prepaid card products. It also reflects that we are actively assessing the need for regulations in other markets for consumer financial products and services, particularly debt collection, payday loans and deposit advance products, and bank overdraft programs. The Bureau has been gathering significant information on these topics through previous white papers and other research, requests for comment and advanced notices of proposed rulemaking (including a current request for comment on debt collection practices), and other outreach. We will intensify work on these projects in 2014, for instance by testing consumer disclosures in connection with prepaid products and debt collection.
We also are returning to a topic that had been raised as part of an earlier initiative to seek comment on ways to streamline and modernize regulations that we had inherited from other agencies. Specifically, we expect to issue a proposal regarding the notices that consumers receive each year from their financial institutions to explain the companies’ information sharing practices. A number of commenters had suggested that it would be helpful to reduce unwanted paperwork for consumers and unnecessary regulatory burdens, at least where a financial institution limits the sharing of information with third-parties and has not changed policies.
We are 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. So stay tuned in this space for further updates as we look ahead to 2014.