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CFPB publishes Regulation F debt collection compliance guidance

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Debt Collection Regulation F Compliance Mortgages

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On October 29, the CFPB released information on validation notices to help facilitate compliance with requirements in the Regulation F debt collection final rule. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in October 2020 the CFPB issued its final rule (effective November 30) amending Regulation F, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, addressing debt collection communications and prohibitions on harassment or abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices. The CFPB released guidance for debt collectors offering instructions on how to provide certain validation information, including using the “Itemization Table” in the model validation notice as well as examples of how the table might be completed for different types of debts. The guidance also provides, among other things, examples of itemization tables for the collection of multiple debt owned by the same consumer.

The Bureau also issued new FAQs related to Regulation F that address validation information generally and validation information related to residential mortgage debt. Among other things, the FAQs: (i) specify the validation information debt collectors must provide consumers who owe or allegedly owe a debt; (ii) clarify that while the use of the model validation notice provided in Appendix B of the final rule is not required, debt collectors must comply with the validation information content and format requirements in Regulation F; (iii) specify that a debt collector can make changes to the model validation notice and still obtain the validation information content and format safe harbor with certain limitations; (iv) state that a debt collector does not need to provide the itemization-related information in a validation notice provided the debt collector follows a special rule for certain residential mortgage debt; (v) outline validation information that may be omitted if using the Mortgage Special Rule, and clarify that generally if a debt collector uses the Mortgage Special Rule with the model validation notice, the debt collector may still receive a safe harbor as long as certain criteria is met; (vi) define “most recent periodic statement” for purposes of the Mortgage Special Rule; and (vii) clarify that under the Mortgage Special Rule, a debt collector “uses the date of the periodic statement provided under that Special Rule as the itemization date.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau issued FAQs last month discussing limited-content messages and the call frequency provisions under the Debt Collection Rule in Regulation F.

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