Once a proposed rule is published, the primary way the CFPB collects public input is through written comments posted on the public rulemaking docket. However, members of the public may wish to provide oral or written feedback directly to CFPB staff. Those communications are considered ex parte because they are outside of, or in addition to, the formal comment process set forth in a notice of proposed rulemaking.
Shortly after we opened our doors in 2011, we announced the adoption of a policy governing ex parte presentations. This policy generally requires public disclosure of ex parte communications made to our decision-making staff about pending rules. Based on public feedback and our own implementation experiences, we’ve made some updates to ensure the policy continues to foster fairness and transparency in our rulemaking proceedings while also encouraging candid input from state entities.
Our policy requires that ex parte communications are summarized and disclosed publicly. The policy addresses the procedures, deadlines, and exceptions for publicly disclosing ex parte presentations.
Two key updates:
1. State entity exemption
There is now an exemption for state entities similar to the existing exemption for Federal agencies. The Updated Policy specifies that “State” means “any State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States or any federally recognized Indian tribe.” The exemption includes:
bank regulatory authorities
agencies that license, supervise, or examine the offering of consumer financial
products or services
The policy also clarifies that any of these communications would be exempt only if made by entities when acting in their official capacities. Communications from these entities are sometimes sensitive, and we believe these entities are likely to provide more frank and robust feedback if communications are not subject to the disclosure requirements of the policy.
2. Procedural improvements
parties are no longer responsible for sending ex parte communications both to us and posting them to
regulations.gov. Stakeholders now
only have to send the communications directly to us and our staff will
post to the public docket on regulations.gov.
The updated policy also extends the time period for outside parties to summarize meetings—from three to 10 business days—and it states that our staff should make reasonable efforts to post the materials within a reasonable period before the final rule is published.
Read the full ex parte policy and supplementary information.
The CFPB is committed to well-tailored and effective regulations and has sought to carefully calibrate its efforts to ensure consistency with respect to consumer financial protections across the financial services marketplace. We believe these changes will ensure our rulemaking process continues to be open and fair and produces well-informed rules.