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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Chopra discusses open banking and standard-setting

Federal Issues CFPB Open Banking CFPA Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

Federal Issues

On March 13, the Director of the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, delivered prepared remarks at the Financial Data Exchange Global Summit and discussed advancing the U.S. towards open banking. Chopra outlined the current efforts and considerations surrounding the development of industry standards that would help transition consumers with switching financial products. The CFPB had been finalizing rules on Section 1033 of the CFPA which would grant consumers the right to access their financial data and would aim to protect sensitive personal financial information while promoting open banking (covered by InfoBytes here).

Chopra highlighted the importance of creating industry standards for data sharing and communication protocols, drawing parallels with existing standards in electronics and financial services. While the CFPB's proposal acknowledged the role of standards, Chopra noted that it intentionally avoided being overly “prescriptive” to avoid stifling innovation, among other things.

The speech also addressed the potential for anticompetitive behavior in the standard-setting process. Chopra noted historical instances of anticompetitive behavior, a concern that the CFPB had been monitoring closely. The Bureau will be working with the DOJ to prevent such practices.

The Bureau sought to codify what standard-setting organizations must demonstrate to be recognized under the proposed rule, then invite those organizations to begin the process of receiving formal recognition from the CFPB. Based on the comments received on the proposed rule, Chopra expects that by this fall, the final rule will “identify the areas where standards are relevant to the requirements of the final rule.” Chopra also noted the CFPB considered whether standard-setting organizations should be balanced so no entity or group of entities can “dominate[] decision making.” He noted that the Bureau will investigate the makeup of entities’ standard-setting/modification groups and funding structure, warning if an entity’s composition or funding suggests favoritism, then “that will be a problem.” Chopra noted that if the CFPB cannot identify standard-setting organizations, it is prepared to implement more detailed guidance.