CFPB: Series of Policy Statements Rescinded to Ensure Industry Complies with Consumer Protection Laws

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today announced it is rescinding seven policy statements issued last year that provided temporary flexibilities to financial institutions in consumer financial markets including mortgages, credit reporting, credit cards and prepaid cards. The seven rescissions, effective April 1, provide guidance to financial institutions on complying with their legal and regulatory obligations. With the rescissions, the CFPB is providing notice that it intends to exercise the full scope of the supervisory and enforcement authority provided under the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB is also rescinding its 2018 bulletin on supervisory communications and replacing it with a revised bulletin describing its use of matters requiring attention (MRAs) to effectively convey supervisory expectations.

“We are now over a year into the disruptive and deadly COVID-19 crisis. The virus has affected industry as well as consumers, but individuals and families have been hardest-hit by the pandemic’s health and economic impacts,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “Providing regulatory flexibility to companies should not come at the expense of consumers. Because many financial institutions have developed more robust remote capabilities and demonstrated improved operations, it is no longer prudent to maintain these flexibilities. The CFPB’s first priority, today and always, is protecting consumers from harm.”

The rescinded policy statements were issued between March 26 through June 3, 2020, and temporarily provided financial institutions with flexibilities regarding certain regulatory filings or compliance with consumer financial laws and regulations. The rescissions announced today reflect the Bureau’s commitment to consumer protection, and the fact that financial institutions have had a year to adapt their operations to the difficulties posed by the pandemic

The rescinded policy statements and MRA Bulletin are:

The rescission also withdraws the CFPB as a signatory to the Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting for Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affected by the Coronavirus  (April 7, 2020) and the Interagency Statement on Appraisals and Evaluations for Real Estate Related Financial Transactions Affected by the Coronavirus (April 14, 2020).

The rescission also instructs all financial institutions required to file quarterly to do so beginning with their 2021 first quarter data, due on or before May 31, 2021, for all covered loans and applications with a final action taken date between January 1 and March 31, 2021.

The rescission also provides guidance as to how entities should now meet the specified information collections requirements relating to credit card and prepaid accounts.

The rescission leaves intact the section entitled “Furnishing Consumer Information Impacted by COVID-19” which articulates the CFPB’s support for furnishers’ voluntary efforts to provide payment relief and that the CFPB does not intend to cite in examinations or take enforcement actions against those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies that accurately reflect the payment relief measures they are employing.

The rescission instructs land developers subject to ILSA and Regulation J to resume filing of annual reports of activity and financial statements as specified in Regulation J.

The rescinded bulletin is replaced by Bulletin 2021-01 announcing changes to how CFPB examiners articulate supervisory expectations. The new bulletin states that the CFPB will continue to rely on MRAs, explains the circumstances under which it will do so, and announces that the CFPB will discontinue use of Supervisory Recommendations.

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