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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB rolls back last year’s Covid-19 flexibilities

Federal Issues CFPB Covid-19 Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Data Collection / Aggregation Mortgages HMDA Credit Cards Prepaid Cards TILA Examination Supervision Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On March 31, the CFPB rescinded, effective April 1, the following policy statements, which provided temporary regulatory flexibility measures to help financial institutions work with consumers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • A March 26, 2020, statement addressing the Bureau’s commitment to taking into account staffing and related resource challenges facing financial institutions related to supervision and enforcement activities.
  • A March 26, 2020, statement postponing quarterly HMDA reporting requirements. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
  • A March 26, 2020, statement postponing annual data submission requirements related to credit card and prepaid accounts required under TILA, Regulation Z and Regulation E. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
  • An April 1, 2020, statement on credit reporting agencies and furnishers’ credit reporting obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bureau notes that the rescission “leaves intact the section entitled “Furnishing Consumer Information Impacted by COVID-19” which articulates the CFPB’s support for furnishers’ voluntary efforts to provide payment relief and that the CFPB does not intend to cite in examinations or take enforcement actions against those who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies that accurately reflect the payment relief measures they are employing.” (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
  • An April 27, 2020, statement affirming that the Bureau would not take supervisory or enforcement action against land developers subject to the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act and Regulation J for delays in filing financial statements and annual reports of activity. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
  • A May 13, 2020, statement providing supervision and enforcement flexibility for creditors to resolve billing errors during the pandemic. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)
  • A June 3, 2020, statement providing temporary flexibility for credit card issuers regarding electronic provision of certain disclosures during the Covid-19 pandemic in accordance with the E-Sign Act and Regulation Z. (Covered by InfoBytes here.)

The rescission also withdraws the Bureau as a signatory to the April 7, 2020, Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting for Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affected by the Coronavirus (covered by InfoBytes here), and the April 14, 2020, Interagency Statement on Appraisals and Evaluations for Real Estate Related Financial Transactions Affected by the Coronavirus (covered by InfoBytes here).

Additionally, the Bureau issued Bulletin 2021-01 announcing changes to how it communicates supervisory expectations to institutions. Bulletin 2021-01 replaces Bulletin 2018-01 (covered by InfoBytes here), which previously created two categories of findings conveying supervisory expectations: Matters Requiring Attention (MRAs) and Supervisory Recommendations (SRs). Under the revised Bulletin, the Bureau notes that examiners “will continue to rely on [MRAs] to convey supervisory expectations” but will no longer issue formal written SRs, as the agency believes that MRAs will more effectively convey its supervisory expectations. The Bulletin further states that “Bureau examiners may issue MRAs with or without a related supervisory finding that a supervised entity has violated a Federal consumer financial law.”

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