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Rulemaking agenda

Today, we are 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 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 12-month cycle. It also includes recently-completed rulemakings. As an independent agency, we are required to publish certain items in the Federal Register by law and voluntarily participate in the broader Unified Agenda process.

Our agenda includes a number of rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. For example, we recently issued several mortgage-related rules, most of which will take effect in January 2014. We are now focusing intensely on supporting the implementation process for those rules, and have proposed some clarifications and amendments to the rules to address questions raised by stakeholders. We are also working to complete a rule to integrate and streamline federal mortgage disclosures. Pending the results of additional testing, we expect to issue the final rule this fall, although we would not expect any implementation work to begin until after the January 2014 effective date for the earlier mortgage rules.

We are also continuing rulemakings to implement our supervisory program for certain nonbank entities. For example, in March 2013, we issued a proposed rule which, if finalized, would bring nonbank larger participants in the student loan servicing market within our supervisory authority. In June 2013, we issued a final rule establishing procedures to implement our authority to supervise certain nonbanks that we have a reasonable cause to determine are engaging, or have engaged, in activity that poses risks to consumers in connection with offering or providing consumer financial products or services. These procedures address issuing a notice to a nonbank that we may have “reasonable cause,” and providing the nonbank with an opportunity to respond.

The agenda also reflects that we have been conducting outreach and research to assess issues in various other markets for consumer financial products and services over many months. As a result of this work, we are now beginning to consider whether regulations may be appropriate to address concerns raised about debt collection, which is the single biggest source of complaints to the federal government , and payday and deposit advance products, which were the focus of a recent report. We are also expecting to build on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we published last year concerning prepaid cards, by developing a proposed rule to strengthen federal consumer protections for these products.

We are also 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 are expecting 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 eliminating the annual privacy notices where there has been no change in policies would reduce unwanted paperwork for consumers and unnecessary regulatory burdens, at least where a financial institution limits the sharing of information with third-parties.

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.

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