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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB provides E-Sign consent flexibility due to Covid-19

Federal Issues Covid-19 CFPB TILA E-SIGN Act Regulation Z

Federal Issues

On June 3, the CFPB released a statement on temporary and targeted flexibility for credit card issuers regarding electronic provision of certain disclosures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement highlights that certain credit card issuers are receiving far more calls from consumers seeking relief as a result of the pandemic, but are unable to provide such relief without first providing certain written disclosures required by Regulation Z. Because such disclosures can only be provided electronically after consent sufficient under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) is obtained, credit card issuers may be unable to move quickly to assist consumers. To address this issue, the statement provides that the CFPB “will take a flexible supervisory and enforcement approach during this pandemic regarding card issuers’ electronic provision of disclosures required to be in writing for account-opening disclosures and temporary rate or fee reduction disclosures mandated under provisions governing non-home secured, open-end credit.”

Specifically, the Bureau states that it does not intend to cite a violation in an examination or bring an enforcement action against an issuer that, during a phone call, does not obtain the formal E-Sign consent required by Regulation Z to receive electronic written disclosures, as long as the issuer obtains both (i) oral consent to electronic delivery of the written disclosures, and (ii) oral affirmation of the consumer’s ability to access and review the electronic written disclosures. The Bureau states that it expects issuers to take “reasonable steps during the phone call to verify consumers’ electronic contact information,” including verifying the accuracy of email addresses already on file.

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