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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB finalizes rule stating supervisory guidance lacks force of law

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Supervision Examination Enforcement OCC Federal Reserve NCUA FDIC Bank Regulatory

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On January 19, the CFPB issued a final rule codifying the Interagency Statement Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance issued by the CFPB, OCC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and the NCUA on September 11, 2018 (2018 Statement). As previously covered by InfoBytes, the October 2018 joint proposal amended the 2018 Statement by (i) clarifying that references in the Statement limiting agency “criticisms” includes criticizing institutions “through the issuance of [matters requiring attention] MRAs and other supervisory criticisms, including those communicated through matters requiring board attention, documents of resolution, and supervisory recommendations”; and (ii) adding that supervisory criticisms should be “specific as to practices, operations, financial conditions, or other matters that could have a negative effect on the safety and soundness of the financial institution, could cause consumer harm, or could cause violations of laws, regulations, final agency orders, or other legally enforceable conditions.”

The Bureau notes that it chose to issue a final rule that is specific to the Bureau and Bureau-supervised institutions, rather than a joint version including the five agencies as it did with the proposal. However, the final rule adopts the proposed rule without substantive change. The final rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Similar announcements were issued by the OCC, FDIC, and NCUA.

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