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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • CFPB finalizes standards setting body component of open banking rule

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 5, the CFPB announced it finalized in part its proposed Personal Financial Data Rights rule, thus establishing the minimum qualifications necessary for the Bureau to become a recognized industry standard setting body when the full rule becomes final. Last October, the CFPB proposed the Personal Financial Data Rights rule to implement Section 1033 of the CFPA (covered by InfoBytes here) which was intended to offer consumers more control over their financial data and more consumer protections for misused data.

    After considering relevant public comments, the CFPB made several changes to the sections concerning standard setters and the standards they issue. Commenters asked for clarity regarding changes in standards, such as when a consensus standard ceases to have consensus status, and how it could potentially cause market uncertainty. In response, the Bureau replaced the term “qualified industry standard” with “consensus standard” and added a newly defined “recognized standard setter” term. The final rule defined “consensus standard” to clarify when a given standard will be a consensus standard, and also added that a “consensus standard” must be one that will be adopted and maintained by a recognized standard setter. In response to concerns about market uncertainty, the CFPB responded that they expect revocation of recognition for a standard setter to be a rare occurrence.

    Regarding periodic review, the final rule extended the maximum duration of the CFPB’s recognition of a standard-setting body from the proposed duration of three years to five years. The Bureau expects this change will incentivize standard-setting bodies to obtain recognition. The final rule included “data recipients” as an interested party in response to commenter concern that certain fintech sectors may be excluded. Additionally, meeting the criteria in the final rule is just the starting point for approval, as the CFPB may also assess whether the standard-setting body will be committed to developing and upholding open banking standards.

    The final rule also included a guide that detailed how standard setters can apply for CFPB recognition, how the Bureau will evaluate applications, and what standard setters can expect once recognized. The final rule will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. 

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Privacy CFPB Open Banking Consumer Protection

  • Chopra discusses open banking and standard-setting

    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.

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

  • Wyoming amends its open banking provisions

    State Issues

    On March 8, the Wyoming governor signed HB 145 (the “Act”) related to open banking, making two changes. First, the amendment updated the definition of a “customer” as a natural person or an agent, trustee, or representative acting on behalf of a natural person. Second, and for banks already participating in open banking, the Act limited the release of consumer data to third-party financial service providers to data that is only necessary for the consumer to receive the third-party product or service. The Act will go into effect on July 1. 

    State Issues State Legislation Wyoming Open Banking

  • CFPB proposes rule to accelerate a shift toward open banking

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On October 19, the CFPB announced a proposed rule that it said would accelerate a shift toward open banking, would give consumers more control over their financial data, and would offer new protections against companies misusing consumer data. The proposed Personal Financial Data Rights rule activates a dormant provision of law enacted by Congress more than a decade ago, Section 1033 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. According to the CFPB, the rule would “jumpstart competition” by prohibiting financial institutions from “hoarding” a person’s data and requiring companies to share data with other companies at the consumer’s direction about their use of checking and prepaid accounts, credit cards, and digital wallets. This would allow consumers to access competing products and services while ensuring that their data would be used only for their own preferred purpose. Among other things, the proposed rule would ensure that consumers: (i) can obtain their personal financial data at no cost; (ii) have a legal right to grant third parties access to information associated with their credit card, checking, prepaid, and digital wallet accounts; and (iii) can walk away from bad service. Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before December 29, 2023.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Protection Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security Open Banking

  • Hsu discusses open banking

    Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu recently discussed the evolution and impact of open banking during remarks at the Spring FDX Global Summit. Defining open banking as “enabling consumer-permissioned sharing of financial data with third parties to empower consumers, foster competition, and expand financial inclusion,” Hsu explained that, under the concept, consumers may eventually be able to access a wide range of financial service providers and move checking and savings accounts between providers more readily. Hsu cautioned, however, that new risks may arise due to increases in the “volume and complexity of consumer-permissioned sharing.” Hsu highlighted the interconnectedness of open banking, safety and soundness, and the changing culture of banking due to the digitalization of banking and the associated promises of innovation. “The potential for open banking to provide consumers with greater control over their financial data, to increase the portability of banking accounts, and to foster greater competition and fairness in the provision of financial services is significant and may impact banking in a variety of ways,” he said.

    Hsu commented that, while the OCC supports opening banking, it is also cautious about potential increases to liquidity, operational, and compliance risks. While account portability “will be empowering for consumers, in isolation this would likely increase the liquidity risk of retail deposits for banks,” Hsu said. Additionally, increasing the volume and complexity of consumer-permissioned sharing has the potential to introduce new risks and necessitate new controls, Hsu said, adding that banks operating as data providers will need to “interact with aggregators, fintechs, technology firms, and competitor banks,” and “expand from reliably handling their customers’ money, to also reliably handling their financial data.” Underscoring the blurred lines between banking and commerce in the digital arena, Hsu emphasized that “[o]pen banking cannot be accomplished by banks alone. Data aggregators and fintechs already play a significant role, which will expand as open banking is more fully adopted.”

    Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC Consumer Finance Open Banking Risk Management

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