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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB outlines application process for early termination of consent orders

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Consent Order Enforcement

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On October 5, the CFPB issued a policy statement outlining the application process for entities seeking to terminate a consent order before the original expiration date. Generally, consent orders issued by the Bureau carry five-year terms, although the term may be extended in certain circumstances. While reiterating the essential role consent orders play in the Bureau’s enforcement work, the Bureau recognizes that consent orders can impose costly and resource-intensive reporting and record-keeping requirements, and may impact a regulated depository institution’s ability to open new branches or merge or acquire other financial institutions. Acknowledging that there may be “exceptional circumstances” where early termination may be appropriate, the policy statement sets forth eligibility criteria that entities must meet, and lays out the standards that the Bureau intends to use when evaluating early termination applications. It also notes that only entities are permitted to apply for early termination of a consent order. Individuals are not eligible do so.

Among other things, an entity applying for early termination must demonstrate that it (i) has fully complied with the consent order’s terms and conditions; and (ii) has a “satisfactory” compliance management system in its institutional product line or compliance area under which the consent order was issued. Entities must also meet certain timing and threshold eligibility criteria. The policy statement further specifies that an entity may not apply if it has been banned from participating in a certain industry, if the consent order involves violations of an earlier order, or if any criminal activity is involved. Once an application is determined to be complete, the Bureau states that it “generally intends to complete [its] compliance review within six months.”

The policy statement takes effect October 8.

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