The Bureau published its Fall 2019 Agenda as part of the , which is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. The agenda lists the regulatory matters that the Bureau reasonably anticipates having under consideration during the period from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020, as described further below. As an independent regulatory agency, the Bureau’s participation in the Unified Agenda is voluntary.
Director Kraninger took office in December 2018 and shortly after embarked on a listening tour to engage with Bureau stakeholders, employees, and outside experts, building on feedback submitted through more than 88,000 public comments in response to the Bureau’s 2018 “Call for Evidence” initiative. This Unified Agenda represents the first one the Bureau has prepared following Director Kraninger’s listening tour.
Implementing Statutory Directives
The Bureau is engaged in a number of rulemakings to implement directives mandated in the , Public Law 115-174, 132 Stat. 1297, the Dodd-Frank Act, and other statutes. As part of these rulemakings, the Bureau is working to maximize consumer welfare and achieve other statutory objectives through protecting consumers from harm and minimizing regulatory burden, including facilitating industry compliance with rules.
For example, in March 2019, the Bureau published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek public comment relating to implementation of section 307 of the EGRRCPA, which amends the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to mandate that the Bureau prescribe certain regulations relating to “Property Assessed Clean Energy” (PACE) financing. As defined by EGRRCPA section 307, PACE financing results in a tax assessment on a consumer’s real property and covers the costs of home improvements. The Bureau is reviewing the comments it received in response to the ANPR, as it considers next steps to facilitate the development of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
The Bureau has also been engaged in a range of other activities to support its rulemaking to implement the EGRRCPA. For example, the Bureau updated its small entity compliance guides and other compliance aids to reflect the EGRRCPA’s statutory changes. The Bureau also issued written guidance as encouraged by Section 109 of the Act, which states that the Bureau “should endeavor to provide clearer, authoritative guidance” on certain mortgage regulations
Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require, subject to rules prescribed by the Bureau, financial institutions to collect, report, and make public certain information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses. The Bureau expects to host a symposium on small business data collection in November 2019 in order to facilitate a robust discussion with outside experts on the issues implicated by creating such a data collection and reporting regime. After the symposium, the Bureau anticipates that its next step will be the release of materials in advance of convening a panel under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration’s Chief Counsel for Advocacy, to consult with representatives of small businesses that may be affected by the rulemaking.
Promoting Competition, Increasing Transparency and Preserving Fair Markets
The Bureau continues certain other rulemakings described in its Spring 2019 Agenda to articulate clear rules of the road for regulated entities that promote competition, increase transparency, and preserve fair markets for financial products and services.
For example, to consider concerns about possible unwarranted regulatory burden, the Bureau issued an NPRM in May 2019 to reconsider the thresholds for reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under the Bureau’s 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Rule. The NPRM also proposed to incorporate into Regulation C an interpretive and procedural rule that the Bureau issued in August 2018 to clarify partial HMDA exemptions created by the EGRRCPA. Likewise, to consider concerns about possible unwarranted regulatory burden, the Bureau also issued an ANPR in May 2019 concerning certain data points that are reported under the 2015 HMDA rule and coverage of certain business or commercial purpose loans. In summer 2020, the Bureau expects to issue an NPRM to follow up on the May 2019 ANPR relating to data points and coverage of certain business or commercial purpose loans. The Bureau also expects to issue an NPRM addressing the public disclosure of HMDA data in light of consumer privacy interests, so that the Bureau can consider concurrently the collection and reporting of data points and the public disclosure of those data points.
In addition, in February 2019, the Bureau issued an NPRM relating to reconsideration of the mandatory underwriting requirements of a 2017 rule titled Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans. The comment period for the NPRM closed in May 2019 and the Bureau is carefully reviewing the approximately 190,000 comments it received. The Bureau expects to take final action in April 2020 with respect to this proposal.
Finally, the Bureau issued an NPRM in May 2019, which would prescribe rules under Regulation F to govern the activities of debt collectors, as that term is defined under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Bureau's proposal would, among other things, address communications in connection with debt collection; interpret and apply prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices in debt collection; and clarify requirements for certain consumer-facing debt collection disclosures. The proposal builds on the Bureau’s research and pre-rulemaking activities regarding the debt collection market, which remains a top source of complaints to the Bureau. The Bureau also is engaged in testing of consumer disclosures related to time-barred debt disclosure issues that were not the focus of the May 2019 proposal. After testing, the Bureau will assess whether to issue a supplemental NPRM seeking comments on any disclosure proposal related to the collection of time-barred debt.
In addition to these three rulemakings in which the Bureau already has issued proposals, the Bureau also is planning to issue a proposal this year to amend the Bureau’s Remittance Rule, among other things, to address the effects of the expiration in July 2020 of the Rule’s temporary exception that allows institutions to estimate fees and exchange rates in some circumstances.
New Projects and Further Planning
In January 2019, the Bureau completed an assessment of certain rules implementing Dodd-Frank Act provisions that require mortgage lenders to make a reasonable and good faith determination that consumers have a reasonable ability to repay certain mortgage loans and that define certain “qualified mortgages” that a lender may presume comply with the statutory ability-to-repay requirement. The Bureau is now focusing its attention on a regulatory provision that extends qualified mortgage status to loans that are eligible to be purchased or guaranteed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (which are often called the government sponsored enterprises or GSEs) while they operate under Federal conservatorship or receivership. The “GSE patch” provision is set to expire in January 2021, meaning that loans that are eligible to be purchased or guaranteed by GSEs that are originated after that date would not be eligible for qualified mortgage status under its criteria. In July 2019, the Bureau issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit information about possible amendments to the qualified mortgage provisions of Regulation Z, specifically information about issues related to the scheduled expiration of the GSE patch. The comment period closed in September 2019 and the Bureau is carefully reviewing the comments it received.
In light of feedback received in response to the Bureau’s 2018 Call for Evidence and various other outreach to stakeholders, the Bureau has decided to add two new entries to its long-term regulatory agenda. The Bureau is now adding entries to address issues of concern in connection with loan originator compensation and to facilitate the use of electronic channels of communication in the origination and servicing of credit card accounts.
The Bureau is also actively reviewing existing regulations. The Bureau will be conducting an assessment, consistent with section 1022(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act, of its regulations to consolidate various mortgage origination disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The Bureau must issue a report by October 2020 with the results of its assessment. In addition, the Bureau published in May 2019 its plan for conducting reviews, consistent with section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, of certain regulations which are believed to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Bureau also sought and received comments concerning the impact on small banks and credit unions of a 2009 Regulation E amendment concerning overdraft as part of the Bureau’s first-ever 610 RFA review of a rule. The Bureau is carefully reviewing the comments it received as part of the analysis required to support its determination pursuant to section 610 of the RFA that the rule be continued without change, amended, or rescinded. In 2020, the Bureau expects to conduct a 610 RFA review of the Regulation Z rules that implement the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009.
Finally, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Bureau is also continuing to monitor markets for consumer financial products and services to identify risks to consumers and the proper functioning of such markets. The Bureau’s market monitoring work assists in identifying issues for potential future rulemaking work.