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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB issue semi-annual report to Congress

Federal Issues CFPB Covid-19 Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CARES Act SBA Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On January 21, the CFPB issued its semi-annual report to Congress covering the Bureau’s work from April 1 to September 30, 2020. The report, which is required by Dodd-Frank, addresses, among other things, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer credit, significant rules and orders adopted by the Bureau, consumer complaints, and various supervisory and enforcement actions taken by the Bureau. In her opening letter, former Director Kathy Kraninger discusses the Bureau’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including measures taken to educate consumers on how to navigate relief options offered through the CARES Act and related pandemic-relief laws, as well as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) guidance provided to small businesses. Kraninger also notes that in 2020, “the Bureau filed the second-highest number of actions in the Bureau’s history, secured approximately $875 million dollars in customer relief and penalties, and opened investigations of banks and nonbanks in all of the Bureau’s markets.”

Among other topics, the report highlights two reports published by the Bureau on the effects of Covid-19: one focusing on credit applications and credit inquires (covered by InfoBytes here), and another focusing on consumer credit outcomes (covered by InfoBytes here). Results from the Bureau’s Making Ends Meet Survey (conducted prior to the pandemic) are also discussed, as are the Bureau’s efforts to understand financial challenges facing older adults. In addition to these areas of focus, the report notes the issuance of several significant notices of proposed rulemaking related to remittance transfers, debt collection practices, the transition from LIBOR, and qualified mortgage definitions under TILA. Multiple final rules were also issued concerning HMDA reporting thresholds (of which there were two final rules); remittance transfers; and payday, vehicle, title, and certain high-cost installment loans. Several other rules and initiatives undertaken during the reporting period are also discussed.

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