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  • CFPB publishes rulemaking agenda

    Federal Issues

    On June 11, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released the CFPB’s spring 2021 rulemaking agenda. According to a Bureau announcement, the information released represents regulatory matters the Bureau is “currently pursuing under interim leadership pending the appointment and confirmation of a permanent Director.” Any changes made by the new permanent director will be reflected in the fall 2021 rulemaking agenda. Additionally, the Bureau indicates that it plans to continue to focus resources on actions addressing the adverse impacts to consumers due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and highlighted an interim final rule issued in April that addresses certain debt collector conduct associated with the CDC’s temporary eviction moratorium order (covered by InfoBytes here). The Bureau will also continue to take concrete steps toward furthering the agency’s “commitment to promoting racial and economic equity.”

    Key rulemaking initiatives include:

    • Small Business Rulemaking. Last September, the Bureau released a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) outline of proposals under consideration, convened an SBREFA panel last October, and released the panel’s final report last December (covered by InfoBytes here and here). The Bureau reports that it anticipates releasing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Section 1071 regulations this September to “facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws as well as enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses.”
    • Consumer Access to Financial Records. The Bureau notes that it is considering rulemaking to implement section 1033 of Dodd-Frank in order to address the availability of electronic consumer financial account data. The Bureau is currently reviewing comments received in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) issued last fall regarding consumer data access (covered by InfoBytes here).
    • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau published an ANPR in March 2019 seeking feedback on the unique features of PACE financing and the general implications of regulating PACE financing under TILA. The Bureau notes that it continues “to engage with stakeholders and collect information for the rulemaking, including by pursuing quantitative data on the effect of PACE on consumers’ financial outcomes.”
    • Automated Valuation Models (AVM). Interagency rulemaking is currently being pursued by the Bureau, Federal Reserve Board, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, and FHFA to develop regulations for AVM quality control standards as required by Dodd-Frank amendments to FIRREA. The standards are designed to, among other things, “ensure a high level of confidence in the estimates produced by the valuation models, protect against the manipulation of data, [ ] avoid conflicts of interest, require random sample testing and reviews,” and account for any other appropriate factors. An NPRM is anticipated for December.
    • Amendments to Regulation Z to Facilitate LIBOR Transition. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Bureau issued an NPRM in June 2020 to amend Regulation Z to address the sunset of LIBOR, and to facilitate creditors’ transition away from using LIBOR as an index for variable-rate consumer products. A final rule is expected in January 2022.
    • Reviewing Existing Regulations. The Bureau notes in its announcement that while it will conduct an assessment of a rule implementing HMDA (most of which took effect January 2018), it will no longer pursue two HMDA proposed rulemakings previously listed in earlier agendas related to the reporting of HMDA data points and public disclosure of HMDA data. Additionally, the Bureau states that it finished a review of Regulation Z rules implementing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 and plans to publish any resulting changes in the fall 2021 agenda.

    The Bureau’s announcement also highlights several completed rulemaking items, including (i) a final rule that formally extended the mandatory compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage final rule to October 1, 2022 (covered by InfoBytes here); (ii) proposed amendments to the mortgage servicing early intervention and loss mitigation-related provisions under RESPA/Regulation X (covered by a Buckley Special Alert) (the Bureau anticipates issuing a final rule before June 30, when the federal foreclosure moratoria are set to expire); and (iii) a proposed rule (covered by InfoBytes here), which would extend the effective date of two final debt collection rules to allow affected parties additional time to comply due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic (the Bureau plans to issue a final rule in June on whether, and for how long, it will extend the effective date once it reviews comments).

    Federal Issues CFPB Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Covid-19 Small Business Lending SBREFA Consumer Finance PACE Programs AVMs Dodd-Frank Regulation Z LIBOR HMDA RESPA TILA CARES Act Debt Collection

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  • CFPB updates status on women and minority-owned business data

    Federal Issues

    On May 24, the CFPB filed its fifth status report in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as required under a stipulated settlement reached in February with a group of plaintiffs, including the California Reinvestment Coalition. The settlement (covered by InfoBytes here) resolved a 2019 lawsuit that sought an order compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses.

    Among other things, the Bureau notes in the status report that it has satisfied the following required deadlines: (i) last September it released a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) outline of proposals under consideration (InfoBytes coverage here); and (ii) it convened an SBREFA panel last October and released the panel’s final report last December (InfoBytes coverage here). The Bureau reports that its rulemaking staff continues to brief new Bureau leadership on significant legal and policy issues that must be resolved in order to prepare a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Section 1071 regulations, and states that the parties have met to discuss an appropriate deadline for issuing the NPRM. According to the status report, should the parties agree on a deadline they “will jointly stipulate to the agreed date and request that the court enter that deadline.”

    Find continuing Section 1071 coverage here.

     

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

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  • CFPB files Section 1071 status report, evaluates recommendations

    Federal Issues

    On February 22, the CFPB filed its fourth status report in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as required under a stipulated settlement reached in February with a group of plaintiffs, including the California Reinvestment Coalition. The settlement (covered by InfoBytes here) resolved a 2019 lawsuit that sought an order compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses. 

    Among other things, the Bureau notes in the status report that it has satisfied the following required deadlines: (i) last September it released a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) outline of proposals under consideration (InfoBytes coverage here); and (ii) it convened an SBREFA panel last October and released the panel’s final report last December (InfoBytes coverage here). The settlement next requires the parties to confer about a deadline for the Bureau to issue a Section 1071 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). According to the status report, the Bureau’s rulemaking staff is in the process of evaluating the panel’s recommendations as well as stakeholder feedback, and has begun briefing new Bureau leadership “on the significant legal and policy issues that must be resolved to implement the Section 1071 regulations” and prepare the NPRM. The Bureau notes that the parties continue to discuss an appropriate deadline for issuing the NPRM, emphasizing that if the parties agree on a deadline, they “will jointly stipulate to the agreed date and request that the court enter that deadline.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, acting Director Dave Uejio stated recently that he has “pledged” the Bureau’s Division of Research, Markets, and Regulations “the support it needs to implement section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act without delay.”

    Find continuing Section 1071 coverage here.

    Federal Issues CFPB Courts Section 1071 Small Business Lending Dodd-Frank SBREFA

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  • CFPB report anticipates data collection on small-business lending

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On December 15, the CFPB released a report detailing the results of the panel convened pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), which discussed the Bureau’s pending rulemaking to implement Section 1071 Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1071 requires the Bureau to engage in a rulemaking to collect and disclose data on lending to both women-owned and minority-owned small businesses. In September, the Bureau released a detailed outline describing the proposals under consideration for Section 1071 implementation, including factors such as scope, covered lenders, covered products, data points, and privacy (details covered by InfoBytes here). The October panel was comprised of a representative from the Bureau, the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, and a representative from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. The panel consulted with small entity representatives (SERs)—those who would likely be directly affected by the Section 1071 rulemaking—to discuss the economic impacts of compliance with the outline’s proposals, as well as regulatory alternatives to the proposals.

    The report includes, among other things, the feedback and recommendations made by the SERs, and the findings and recommendations of the panel. Generally, the SERs were supportive of the proposal with “many expressly support[ing] broad coverage of both financial institutions and products in the 1071 rulemaking.” The SERs backed data transparency and simple regulations but expressed significant concern that the rulemaking would cause smaller financial institutions to “incur disproportionate compliance cost compared to large [financial institutions]” and would ultimately either decrease lending or increase costs for small businesses. The SERs also recommended that the Bureau take into account different types of financial institutions operating in the small business lending market, including non-depository institutions. The report also details specific recommendations by the panel, including that the Bureau issue compliance materials in connection with the rulemaking and consider providing sample disclosure language related to the collection of race, sex, and ethnicity information for principal owners as well as women-owned and minority-owned business status.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Small Business Lending Section 1071 Dodd-Frank SBREFA CFPB

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  • CFPB outlines plan to disclose data on small-business lending

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On September 15, the CFPB released its “Outline of Proposals Under Consideration and Alternatives Considered” (Outline) for implementing the requirements of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which instructs the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses. The detailed Outline describes the proposals under consideration and discusses other relevant laws, the regulatory process, and potential economic impacts. The Bureau also released a high-level summary of the Outline. Highlights of the proposals include:

    • Scope. The Bureau is considering proposing that the data collection and reporting requirements would apply only to applications for credit by a small business. Financial institutions would not be required to collect and report data for women- and minority-owned businesses that are not considered “small,” as defined by the Small Business Act and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) implementing regulations.
    • Covered Lenders. The Bureau is considering proposing a broad definition of “financial institution” that would apply to a variety of entities engaged in small business lending, but is also considering proposing exemptions based on either a size-based (examples include $100 million or $200 million in assets), or activity-based threshold (examples range from 25 loans or $2.5 million to 100 loans or $10 million), or both.
    • Covered Products. The Bureau is considering proposing exemptions from the definition of “credit” to include consumer-designated credit, leases, factoring, trade credit, and merchant cash advances.
    • Application. Because an “application” would trigger requirements under Section 1071, the Bureau is considering proposing a definition that is largely consistent with Regulation B; however, the Bureau is also considering “clarifying circumstances,” such as inquiries/prequalifications, that would not be reportable.
    • Data Points. The Bureau is considering a range of data points for collection, including, in addition to the mandatory data points required by Section 1071, “discretionary data points” to aid in fulfilling the purposes of Section 1071: “pricing, time in business, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, and number of employees.”
    • Privacy. The Bureau is considering using a “balancing test” for public disclosure of the data. Specifically, data “would be modified or deleted if its disclosure in unmodified form would pose risks to privacy interests that are not justified by the benefits of public disclosure.”

    Additionally, the Bureau will convene a panel, as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), in October 2020 to “consult small entities regarding the potential impact of the proposals under consideration.” Feedback on the proposals is due no later than December 14.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Section 1071 Dodd-Frank SBREFA Small Business Lending Merchant Cash Advance

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  • CFPB says it is on track to meet data collection deadlines

    Courts

    On August 24, the CFPB filed another status report in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as required under a stipulated settlement reached in February with a group of plaintiffs, including the California Reinvestment Coalition. The settlement (covered by InfoBytes here) resolved a 2019 lawsuit that sought an order compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses. Details on the Bureau’s first status update can be found here.

    Among other things, the Bureau noted in the status report that (i) on July 22, it released a “survey of lenders to obtain estimates of the onetime costs that lenders would incur to prepare to collect data required by Section 1071”; and (ii) on August 11, it provided the SBA and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a draft Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) outline regarding proposals under consideration and alternatives considered. The status report emphasizes that the Bureau is “on track” to release a SBREFA outline by September 15 and convene a SBREFA panel by October 15, as required by the settlement.

    Courts Federal Issues CFPB Fair Lending Small Business Lending Dodd-Frank Section 1071

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  • CFPB releases spring 2020 rulemaking agenda

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 30, the CFPB released its spring 2020 rulemaking agenda. According to a Bureau announcement, the information details the regulatory matters that the Bureau “expect[s] to focus on” between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021. The announcement notes that the agenda was set before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and while the Bureau “continues to move forward with other regulatory work,” it will prioritize work related to supporting consumers and the financial sector during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In addition to the rulemaking activities already completed by the Bureau in May and June of this year, the agenda highlights other regulatory activities planned, including:

    • Escrow Rulemaking. The Bureau intends to issue a proposed rule to implement Section 108 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018, which directs the Bureau to exempt certain loans made by creditors with assets of $10 billion or less (and that meet other criteria) from the escrow requirements applicable to higher-priced mortgage loans.
    • Small Business Rulemaking. The Bureau states that in September 2020, it will publicly release materials for an October panel (convening under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act) with small entities likely to be directly affected by the Bureau’s rule to implement Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank.
    • HMDA. The Bureau states that two rulemakings are planned, including (i) a proposed rule that follows up on a May 2019 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking which sought information on the costs and benefits of reporting certain data points under HMDA and coverage of certain business or commercial purpose loans (covered by InfoBytes here); and (ii) a proposed rule addressing the public disclosure of HMDA data.
    • Debt Collection. The Bureau intends to release the final rule amending Regulation F to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in October 2020 (InfoBytes coverage of the May 2019 proposed rule here). Additionally, “at a later date” the Bureau intends to finalize the February supplemental proposal, which covers time-barred debt disclosures (covered by a Buckley Special Alert here).
    • Qualified Mortgages (QM). The Bureau states it is considering issuing a proposed rule “later this year” that would create a new “seasoning” definition of a QM under Regulation Z, allowing for QM status after the borrower has made consistent timely payments for a defined period.

    Additionally, in its announcement, the Bureau notes that it is (i) participating in an interagency rulemaking process on quality control standards for automated valuation models (AVMs) with regard to appraisals; and (ii) continuing to review and conduct the five-year lookback assessments under Section 1022(d) of Dodd-Frank.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Rulemaking Agenda HMDA Small Business Lending Regulation Z Debt Collection ECOA Escrow EGRRCPA Mortgages

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  • CFPB agrees to publish small-business data proposal by September

    Courts

    On February 26, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California approved a stipulated settlement between plaintiffs, including the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), and the CFPB to resolve a 2019 lawsuit that sought an order compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the plaintiffs argued that the Bureau’s failure to implement Section 1071—which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to women and minority-owned small businesses—violates two provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, and has harmed the CRC’s ability to advocate for access to credit, advise organizations working with women and minority-owned small businesses, and work with lenders to arrange investment in low-income and communities of color.

    Under the terms of the settlement, the Bureau has agreed to outline a proposal for collecting data and studying discrimination in small-business lending by September 15, and will also create a Small Business Advocacy Review panel by October 15 to prepare a report on the proposal within 60 days. The Bureau and the plaintiffs will also negotiate the deadlines for issuing the proposed rule, and, if an agreement cannot be reached, the parties will accept a court-supervised process for public reporting as well as for the development and issuance of the proposed and final rules.

    Last November, the Bureau held a symposium covering small business lending and Section 1071. (Covered by InfoBytes here.) At the time, Director Kathy Kraninger noted in her opening remarks that the symposium would assist the Bureau with information gathering for upcoming rulemaking and emphasized that the Bureau is focused on a rulemaking that would not impede small business access to credit by imposing unnecessary costs on financial institutions.

    Courts Agency Rule-Making & Guidance CFPB Fair Lending Small Business Lending ECOA Dodd-Frank

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  • CFPB holds small business lending symposium

    Federal Issues

    On November 6, the CFPB held a symposium covering small business lending and Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends ECOA to require financial institutions to compile, maintain, and submit to the Bureau certain information concerning credit applications by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses, and also directs the Bureau to promulgate regulations to implement these requirements. In her opening remarks, Director Kraninger, noted that the symposium was being convened to assist the Bureau with information gathering for upcoming rulemaking and emphasized that the Bureau is focused on a rulemaking that would not impede small business access to credit by imposing unnecessary costs on financial institutions. The symposium consisted of two panels, with the first covering policy issues related to small business lending, while the second discussed specific aspects of the requirements of Section 1071. Highlights of the panels include:

    • Panel #1. During the policy discussion, panelists focused on non-traditional lenders, namely fintech firms, that have entered the small business lending market, with most noting that these online alternative lenders have filled a necessary lending gap left by traditional banks and depository institutions. While concerns around bad actors in the online lending space were discussed, most panelists agreed that online financing may provide an opportunity for women and minority-owned businesses to avoid potential biases in underwriting, with one panelist noting that his company does not collect gender or race information in its online application.
    • Panel #2. Panelists focused their discussion on specific implementation concerns of Section 1071, including compliance costs, definitions of small business and financial institutions, data elements to be reported, and privacy concerns. Among other things, panelists noted that the definition of “small business” should be limited to businesses under $1 million in revenue, which is a figure included in other regulations such as ECOA and the CRA. Panelists disagreed on whether the Bureau should exercise its exemptive authority under Section 1071 for the definition of “financial institution.” While some panelists believe that the broad definition included in the Act is necessary to hold all the players in the market accountable, others argued that large financial institutions that receive an “outstanding” CRA rating should be excluded from the reporting requirements. As for data elements, most agreed that the Bureau should only require the statutorily mandated elements and not include any others in the rulemaking, while one panelist suggested that APR must be included in order to ensure that approval rates for minority-owned small businesses are the result of actual innovation and effective business models and not just the charging of high rates. Moreover, panelists reminded the Bureau to be cognizant of the small business lending reporting requirements of the CRA and HMDA and cautioned the Bureau to keep Section 1071 data requirements compatible.

    Federal Issues CFPB Small Business Lending Fintech Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Fair Lending ECOA Dodd-Frank Symposium

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  • California Reinvestment Coalition sues CFPB alleging data collection failures

    Courts

    On May 14, the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) announced it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the CFPB for allegedly failing to implement Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau to collect and disclose data on lending to small, women, and minority-owned businesses. In the complaint, the CRC argues that the failure to implement Section 1071 violates two provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act. Specifically, the CRC alleges the that Bureau has “unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed” the implementation of Section 1071 since Dodd Frank’s passage in 2011, and also, that the Bureau has acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” by informing financial institutions to “not to make [the] inquiries, nor compile, maintain, and submit [the loan application] data” required by Section 1071. The CRC claims that the failure to collect and publish the data has harmed its ability to advocate for access to credit, advise organizations working with women and minority-owned small businesses, and work with lenders to arrange investment in low-income and communities of color. The CRC is seeking the court to invalidate the Bureau’s countermanding of Section 1071’s requirements on financial institutions and an order or writ compelling the Bureau to issue a final rule implementing Section 1071.

    Courts CFPB Data Collection / Aggregation Small Business Lending Dodd-Frank Administrative Procedures Act

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