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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Republicans allege CFPB “collusion” with states

Federal Issues State Attorney General CFPB U.S. House CFPA House Financial Services Committee Enforcement State Issues

Federal Issues

On July 28, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and two other Republican members sent a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, expressing their concerns that the Bureau has been “colluding” with states to “intimidate companies by conspiring with state agencies to pursue duplicative enforcement actions” in the financial services industry. The letter recognizes that state AGs “may enforce the CFPA in cases where the CFPB has not,” but argues that “the statute does not allow for a state attorney general to become a party to an existing CFPB enforcement action.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau issued an interpretive rule in May addressing states’ authority to bring enforcement actions for violations of federal consumer financial protection laws, including the CFPA. The representatives argue that although the CFPB has a duty to enforce the CFPA and protect consumers from predatory and discriminatory practices, the Bureau’s interpretive rule is “akin to deputizing state attorneys general to enforce the CFPA on behalf of the CFPB – something Congress did not authorize.” The letter concludes with a request for documents and information from the Bureau by August 12, including (i) the legal authority that allows the CFPB to “recruit state attorneys general to join existing CFPB actions"; (ii) any “safeguards” the CFPB has in place to avoid “redundant and duplicative state actions”; and (iii) “all documents and communications between offices of state attorneys general and the CFPB since October 12, 2021” and “all information regarding complaints filed in a judicial court received by the CFPB pursuant to 12 USC § 5552.”