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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB agrees to publish small-business data proposal by September

Courts Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Fair Lending Small Business Lending ECOA Dodd-Frank

Courts

On February 26, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California approved a stipulated settlement between plaintiffs, including the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), and the CFPB to resolve a 2019 lawsuit that sought an order compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the plaintiffs argued that the Bureau’s failure to implement Section 1071—which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses—violates two provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, and has harmed the CRC’s ability to advocate for access to credit, advise organizations working with women and minority-owned small businesses, and work with lenders to arrange investment in low-income and communities of color.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Bureau has agreed to outline a proposal for collecting data and studying discrimination in small-business lending by September 15, and will also create a Small Business Advocacy Review panel by October 15 to prepare a report on the proposal within 60 days. The Bureau and the plaintiffs will also negotiate the deadlines for issuing the proposed rule, and, if an agreement cannot be reached, the parties will accept a court-supervised process for public reporting as well as for the development and issuance of the proposed and final rules.

Last November, the Bureau held a symposium covering small business lending and Section 1071. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) At the time, Director Kathy Kraninger noted in her opening remarks that the symposium would assist the Bureau with information gathering for upcoming rulemaking and emphasized that the Bureau is focused on a rulemaking that would not impede small business access to credit by imposing unnecessary costs on financial institutions.

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