In June, the CFPB published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its plans “to collect qualitative information from industry participants regarding the compliance costs and other effects on providers and consumers, both as to existing regulations in force as well as to proposed new regulations.”  The notice sought comments to be included in the CFPB’s request to the Office of Management and Budget for “generic clearance” of the CFPB’s information collection plans. 

The CFPB’s request to OMB is being opposed by the American Bankers Association and the Consumer Bankers Association.  In a joint comment letter, the ABA and CBA observe that “generic clearances were not intended to short circuit an agency’s obligation to obtain public and industry comment” and contend that the CFPB’s collection of compliance cost information does not fit OMB’s standards for obtaining such a clearance.

Calling the notice “a perfunctory effort to comply with the mandates of the [Paperwork Reduction Act],” the letter asserts that the notice describes the CFPB’s methods of collection and intended respondents in “sweeping generalities” lacking sufficient information “to permit the public to comment or to enable OMB to approve the clearance.”   The ABA and CBA state that the collection of information on compliance costs is “fundamental to substantive rulemaking” and must provide an opportunity for industry “to make a meaningful contribution to the collection across a range of formats and venues that will ensure accurate and representative data is collected.”

The letter urges the CFPB to withdraw its request “as inappropriate for the purpose at hand” and work with the banking industry and the ABA and CBA to create a “more suitable streamlining” of the compliance cost information collection process.