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 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.
On July 13, the CFPB announced that the FFIEC and HUD had published new resources for financial institutions required to file data pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Regulation C, as amended by the CFPB’s October 2015 final rule, which revised and expanded the scope of HMDA reporting requirements. Accordingly, the CFPB updated its “Resources for HMDA filers” page to include the following new FFIEC and HUD resources: (i) a Technology Preview, which provides an initial summary for how HMDA filers will interact with the HMDA Platform, a web-based data submission and edit-check system that filers will use to submit HMDA data collected in or after 2017; (ii) Filing Instructions Guide (FIG) for HMDA data collected in 2017, which outlines changes to the submission process for data collected in 2017, 2017 file specifications, and 2017 edit specifications; and (iii) FIG for HMDA data collected in 2018. The 2018 FIG includes field definitions for the many additional or modified data points required for data collected in 2018 and 2018 file format and edit specifications. The technical specifications in the FIG will allow lenders and vendors of HMDA data-preparation software to begin making the systems changes needed to collect data in 2018 for submission in 2019. The CFPB’s HMDA resource page also includes FFIEC HMDA FAQs and reminds financial institutions to visit the FFIEC website for resources to submit data collected in or before 2016.