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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

NYDFS concerned with CFPB’s small business loan data collection proposal

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Section 1071 Small Business Lending NYDFS ECOA State Issues State Regulators New York

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On January 6, NYDFS issued a comment letter responding to the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), “Small Business Lending Data Collection under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B).” The NPRM—mandated under Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act—would require a broad swath of lenders to collect data on loans they make to small businesses, including information about the loans themselves, the characteristics of the borrower, and demographic information regarding the borrower’s principal owners. This information would be reported annually to the Bureau, and eventually published by the Bureau on its website, with some potential modifications. According to the Bureau, the statute’s stated intent is to “facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.” (Covered by a Buckley Special Alert.)

In its comment letter, NYDFS discussed its responsibilities for examining state-chartered banking institutions’ compliance with the New York Community Reinvestment Act (NYCRA), New York Banking Law § 28-b, which NYDFS noted largely mirrors the current federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Additionally, NYDFS stated that it examines regulated institutions for compliance with state fair lending requirements and agreed with the Bureau that “collecting critical information about minority- and women-owned businesses (MWOBs) to address fair lending concerns and allow financial institutions to identify gaps in the market” is an important goal. To that end, NYDFS is in the process of implementing its own MWOB data collection regulation under the NYCRA, which would require New York state-chartered banking institutions to start collecting MWOB-related data. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) Due to similarities between the proposed regulation and the Bureau’s NPRM, and to avoid imposing an undue burden on institutions covered by both regulations, NYDFS’s proposed regulation includes language that would “permit, but not obligate, NYDFS to treat compliance with the CFPB’s rule implementing Section 1071 as compliance with the NYCRA’s MWOB-related data collection regulation.”

Two specific issues were raised in response to the Bureau’s NPRM. First, NYDFS expressed concerns about the NPRM’s silence as to whether the Bureau intends to share more detailed data with state regulators to help states identify fair lending violations and enforce anti-discrimination laws, even if this information is not made available to the public. NYDFS urged the Bureau to include specific language stating it “may share all data submitted by financial institutions with state regulators in accordance with information sharing agreements between the CFPB and the state regulators.” Second, NYDFS asked the Bureau to reconsider its proposal to require data collection only for MWOBs with a threshold of $5 million or less in gross annual revenue. In particular, NYDFS warned of the risk of “dissimilarity in data collected by lenders for submission to the CFPB and the NYDFS” as NYDFS’s proposed regulation “requires evaluation of MWOB lending without respect to size.” NYDFS stressed that this dissimilarity “may prevent the NYDFS from deeming compliance with the CFPB regulation sufficient to comply with the NYDFS regulation.”

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