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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB issues guide on collecting small-biz data

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues CFPB Small Business Small Business Lending Section 1071 Dodd-Frank Compliance

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

The CFPB recently issued a compliance guide for its final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Consistent with Section 1071, the final rule (issued at the end of March) will require financial institutions to collect and provide to the Bureau data on lending to small businesses, defined as an entity with gross revenue under $5 million in its last fiscal year (covered by InfoBytes here). The guide: (i) includes a detailed summary of the final rule’s requirements, including data reporting deadlines; (ii) provides comprehensive information on the types of data financial institutions need to collect and report on small business lending applications and decisions; and (iii) includes parameters for covered institutions and covered originations. The guide further breaks down reportable data points and explains the final rule’s “firewall” provision, which states that employees and officers of a financial institution or its affiliates “involved in making any determination” on a reportable application are generally prohibited from accessing applicant demographic information relating to ethnicity, race, sex, and status as a minority-owned, women-owned, or LGBTQI+-owned business. The guide specifies that certain exceptions may apply to situations where an employee involved in decision-making must have access to the data to fulfill their assigned job duties (e.g. a loan officer or loan processor). In these situations, financial institutions are required to provide notice to applicants that employees and officers involved in decision-making may have access to their demographic data.