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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Republicans seek to overturn CFPB small-biz lending rule; Georgia AG says rule is unnecessary and burdensome

Federal Issues State Issues CFPB Small Business Lending U.S. House Congressional Review Act State Attorney General Section 1071 Georgia

Federal Issues

Recently, several House Republicans introduced a joint resolution of disapproval (H.J. Res. 66) under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the CFPB’s small business lending rule. As previously covered by InfoBytes, last month the Bureau released its final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Effective August 29, the final rule 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). Both traditional banks and credit unions, as well as non-banks, will be required to collect and disclose data about small business loan recipients’ race, ethnicity, and gender, as well as geographic information, lending decisions, and credit pricing. The final rule prescribes a tiered compliance date schedule, with the earliest compliance date being October 1, 2024, for financial institutions that originate at least 2,500 covered small business loans in both 2022 and 2023 (financial institutions with lower origination amounts have later compliance dates).

Also opposing the final rule, Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr sent a letter to CFPB Director Chopra requesting that the final rule be rescinded. Carr argued that the final rule places an unnecessary and expensive burden on financial institutions, and that “[w]ith the current uneasiness in the market and a plethora of other challenges facing community banks, now is not the time to require them to gather more information that has absolutely nothing to do with the process of evaluating which applicants are the strongest and most deserving of capital.” Carr further contended that if lending discrimination is a “rampant problem,” the Bureau should use channels already in place to address this issue. Pointing out that states already have their own consumer protection and anti-discrimination statutes in place, Carr argued that the final rule imposes redundant compliance requirements on financial institutions, particularly community banks. Carr asked the Bureau to “allow states to continue to address lending issues as they occur, rather than saddling small businesses with burdensome regulations.”

Additionally, in April, a group of plaintiffs, including a Texas banking association, filed a lawsuit against the Bureau seeking to invalidate the final rule. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) Plaintiffs argued that the final rule will drive from the market smaller lenders who are not able to effectively comply with the final rule’s “burdensome and overreaching reporting requirements” and decrease the availability of products to customers, including minority and women-owned small businesses.