The CFPB is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a national telephone survey of 1,000 credit card holders as part of its study of the use of mandatory arbitration agreements in connection with the offering of consumer financial products and services. 

The survey is the subject of a notice scheduled to be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register that requests comments on the proposed information collection.  The notice indicates that the survey “will explore the extent of consumer awareness of dispute resolution provisions” in their credit card agreements as well as “consumers’ assessments of such provisions.”  It further states that the survey will seek information about “consumers’ perceptions and valuations” of arbitration and litigation but will not collect data about consumers’ “post-fact satisfaction” with arbitration or litigation.  Assuming the notice is published as scheduled, comments will be due on or before August 6, 2013.   

The CFPB’s arbitration study was mandated by Congress in Section 1028 of the Dodd-Frank Act.  Section 1028 also authorizes the CFPB to “prohibit or impose conditions or limitations on the use of” such agreements based on the study results.  In April 2012, the CFPB published a request for information about the scope, methodology and data sources for the study.  We assisted the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association and The Financial Services Roundtable in preparing a comment letter in response to the CFPB’s request for information.  During his appearance before the Senate Banking Committee in April, Director Cordray indicated that he was “quite sure” at least some of the study results will be publicly released this year.