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House Republicans concerned about CFPB UDAAP manual and administrative adjudications

Federal Issues House Financial Services Committee Consumer Finance CFPB UDAAP ECOA Supervision

Federal Issues

On May 19, nineteen Financial Services Committee Republicans sent a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra expressing concerns about the agency’s new UDAAP supervisory policy and the recent changes to CFPB administrative adjudication procedures. As previously covered by a Buckley Special Alert, the Bureau revised its UDAAP exam manual to highlight the CFPB’s view that its broad authority under UDAAP allows it to address discriminatory conduct in the offering of any financial product or service. With the March announcement, the Bureau made clear its view that any type of discrimination in connection with a consumer financial product or service could be an “unfair” practice — and, therefore, the CFPB can bring discrimination claims related to non-credit financial products. According to the letter, “the CFPB’s new [UDAAP] supervisory policy and the recent changes to CFPB administrative adjudication procedures deviate significantly from past practices.” The letter further argued that “Congress enacted the fair lending laws and delegated their enforcement to the CFPB, clearly defining the limits of CFPB’s jurisdiction.” Additionally, the letter noted that “[e]xtending ECOA’s disparate treatment and disparate impact analysis to non-credit financial products and services ignores these clear limits.” The legislators also contended that “[i]n addition to radically reinterpreting UDAAP, changes to the way the CFPB will supervise for UDAAP will impose significant new responsibilities on supervised entities.”

The letter also expressed concerns regarding changes recently made to the rules governing CFPB administrative adjudications. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in February the Bureau published a procedural rule and request for public comment in the Federal Register to update its Rules of Practice for Adjudication Proceedings. The Bureau indicated that the amendments would provide greater procedural flexibility, providing parties earlier access to relevant information, expanding deposition opportunities, and making various changes related to “timing and deadlines, the content of answers, the scheduling conference, bifurcation of proceedings, the process for deciding dispositive motions, and requirements for issue exhaustion, as well as other technical changes.” According to the letter, this represents a “disturbing” action that is “contrary to [Chopra’s] comments about intending to establish durable jurisprudence made during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in October 2021,” and “does not abide by typical notice and comment procedures.” The nineteen House Republicans on the Committee stated their view that “it is appropriate for the CFPB to immediately revert back to the previous Rules of Practice and conduct notice and comment rulemaking before [] any new procedures become effective.”

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