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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB finalizes nonbank supervisory rule

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Fintech CFPB Nonbank Supervision Dodd-Frank Consumer Finance UDAA{ FOIA

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On November 10, the CFPB announced a final rule finalizing changes to a nonbank supervision procedural rule issued in April. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau announced earlier this year that it was invoking a “dormant authority” under the Dodd-Frank Act to conduct supervisory examinations of fintech firms and other nonbank financial services providers based upon a determination of risk. Specifically, the Bureau said it intends to use a provision under Section 1024 of Dodd-Frank that allows it to examine nonbank financial entities, upon notice and an opportunity to respond, if it has “reasonable cause” to determine that consumer harm is possible. Concurrently, the Bureau issued a request for public comment on an updated version of a procedural rule that implements its statutory authority to supervise nonbanks “whose activities the CFPB has reasonable cause to determine pose risks to consumers,” including potentially unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. Provisions outlined in the procedural rule would exempt final decisions and orders by the Bureau director from being considered confidential supervisory information, thus allowing the Bureau to publish the decisions on its website. Subject companies would be given an opportunity seven days after a final decision is issued to provide input on what information, if any, should be publicly released, the Bureau said.

After reviewing public comments received on the procedural rule, the Bureau incorporated certain changes to clarify the standard that the agency will apply when deciding what information is appropriate for public release, in whole or in part. The Bureau explained that information falling within Freedom of Information Act Exemptions 4 and 6 (which protect confidential commercial information and personal privacy) will not be published. Additionally, the Bureau said it may also choose to withhold information if the director determines there is other good cause to do so. The final rule also extends the deadline from seven to ten business days for nonbanks to submit input about what information should be released. The final rule will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

Notably, the Bureau emphasized that the “amended procedures only relate to the initial decision to extend supervision to a nonbank entity” and “do not affect the confidentiality of any ensuing supervisory examination or any other aspect of the supervisory process.”

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