CFPB Expands Flexibility for Financial Companies During Pandemic

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced it will provide additional flexibility to financial companies that are working with customers in need as they respond to issues related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This relief will come in the form of postponing some data collections from industry on Bureau-related rules in an effort to allow companies to focus on responding to consumers in need.

The Bureau will also be making changes to its supervisory activities to account for operational challenges at the companies it is charged with regulating, according to a press release issued by the CFPB on Thursday. Some of the relief is centered on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting requirements from some mortgage lenders, as well as relaxing reporting expectations stemming from credit card and prepaid accounts under the Truth in Lending Act.

“The Bureau will not expect quarterly information reporting by certain mortgage lenders as required under HMDA and Regulation C,” the Bureau said in its announcement. “During this time, entities should continue collecting and recording HMDA data in anticipation of making annual submissions. The Bureau will provide information on when and how institutions will be expected to commence what would have been new quarterly HMDA data submissions.”

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In terms of the Truth in Lending Act, the Bureau will not expect the reporting of certain information related to credit card and prepaid accounts Regulations Z and E.

“This includes the annual submissions concerning agreements between credit card issuers and institutions of higher education; quarterly submission of consumer credit card agreements; collection of certain credit card price and availability information; and submission of prepaid account agreements and related information,” the Bureau said.

The Bureau is also postponing a survey of financial institutions on the cost of compliance in connection with pending rulemaking on a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, as well as postponing a survey of firms providing Property Assessed Clean Energy financing to consumers in connection with the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.

“As consumers seek temporary relief from lenders, the pandemic is impacting the operations of financial companies that are eager to help their customers during this unprecedented time,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger in the announcement. “Our actions today are temporary and targeted to support consumers by allowing financial companies to focus their resources on assisting consumers.”

The action that the Bureau intends to take in response to the coronavirus crisis will also continue, and additional guidance should be expected in the days and weeks ahead, the director said.

“The Bureau, along with our state and federal partners, have released prior guidance encouraging financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers and other customers affected by COVID-19 to meet their financial needs,” said Kraninger. “We will continue to issue additional guidance and policies to facilitate the ongoing collaborative relationship between companies and their customers during this time.”

Read more at the CFPB Newsroom, including additional resources the Bureau is making available in connection with its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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