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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB seeks consistent enforcement of consumer financial law

Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Finance Enforcement CFPA Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Federal Issues

On May 16, the CFPB launched a new system for providing transparent guidance on how the agency intends to administer and enforce federal consumer financial laws. Consumer Financial Protection Circular 2022-01 discusses the broad variety of agencies responsible for enforcing federal consumer financial law, including the CFPA’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts or practices, and 18 other “enumerated consumer laws” (some of which provide for private enforcement). The circulars will serve as policy statements under the Administrative Procedure Act for other agencies with consumer financial protection responsibilities such as the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve Board, and NCUA. Because other federal agencies, including the DOJ, the FTC, the Farm Credit Administration, and the Departments of Transportation and Agriculture, also have certain enforcement responsibilities, the Bureau stressed the importance of ensuring entities subject to the jurisdiction of multiple agencies receive consistent expectations regardless of a company’s status. Specifically, the circulars “will provide background information about applicable law, articulate considerations relevant to the CFPB’s exercise of its authorities, and advise other parties with authority to enforce federal consumer financial law.” The Bureau announced it has identified several issues that would benefit from clear and consistent enforcement and strongly encouraged other agencies to reach out to the Bureau with suggestions for new circulars. Circulars will be authorized by CFPB Director Rohit Chopra and published on the Bureau’s website and in the Federal Register. The Bureau also welcomes feedback on any issued circulars.