On July 20, the CFPB published an overview of the consumer complaints it handled between July 2011 and July 2016. According to the overview, the CFPB has handled almost one million consumer complaints, the majority of which relate to either mortgages or debt collection. The CFPB has also handled a significant number of complaints related to the following: (i) bank accounts and services, most commonly about opening, closing, or managing bank accounts; (ii) credit cards, in particular billing disputes; and (iii) credit reporting, most often involving reporting errors in credit reports.
On July 20, the CFPB announced various senior leadership changes. Chris D’Angelo will now serve as Associate Director for Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending. D’Angelo joined the CFPB in June 2011 from the U.S. Treasury Department and has held a number of roles at the CFPB, the most recent of which was senior advisor to Director Cordray. Additional leadership changes include Richard Lepley serving as the CFPB’s Principal Deputy General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel in the Legal Division, and Nellisha Ramdass serving as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer.
On July 28, the CFPB will host a field hearing on debt collection in Sacramento, California. CFPB Director Cordray will deliver remarks at the hearing, with consumer groups, industry representatives, and members of the public also providing testimony. It is highly anticipated that, at the hearing, the CFPB will release an outline of proposals for consideration by a Small Business Review Panel. Pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), the CFPB must convene a Small Business Review Panel if a proposed rule may have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. A SBREFA outline may be a strong indicator of the approach the CFPB intends to take on a future proposed rule on debt collection.
On July 18, FHA’s Edward Golding issued a letter sharing HUD Secretary Nani Coloretti’s statement regarding recent events surrounding down payment assistance (DPA) programs. As previously covered in InfoBytes, Golding sent a letter on May 25 to stakeholders informing them that HUD had “determined that finance agency [DPA] programs are legal and consistent with the National Housing Act.” According to the recent July 18 letter, Secretary Coloretti wishes to make clear that HUD does not endorse unlawful practices. She also noted that the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues to investigate alleged inappropriate practices and that HUD will look separately into “the extent to which government-sponsored Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs fully informed borrowers of the loan terms, or imposed inappropriate fees or costs, or enabled steering or any other coercion of borrowers.” Coloretti also reiterated that HUD supports DPA Programs and that they “enable access to credit that allows American families to purchase homes.”
On July 20, Under Secretary Ted Mitchell of the U.S. Department of Education sent a memo to the Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer containing policy directives intended to “strengthen student loan servicing.” Developed in consultation with the CFPB and the Department of the Treasury, the memo provides direction in the following five areas: (i) economic incentives, directing the FSA to use “incentives that encourage servicers to help borrowers stay on top of their loans and avoid default while avoiding fixed-fee structures that create a disincentive to help struggling borrowers”; (ii) accurate and actionable information about account features, borrower protections, and loan terms; (iii) consistency in communications; (iv) accountability, directing the FSA to “step up monitoring of servicing vendors and to integrate complaint resolution into the oversight of those vendors”; and (v) loan data transparency. Commenting on the policy directives outlined in the memo, CFPB Director Richard Cordray noted that the joint servicing standards are intended to increase consistency, transparency, actionability, and accountability in the student lending marketplace.