Five prominent industry trade groups have sent a letter to the CFPB asking for at least 90 days to comment on the CFPB’s proposal to expand the complaint data that it publicly discloses in its Consumer Complaint Database to include consumer complaint narratives.  

The letter was sent by the Financial Services Roundtable, the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, The Clearing House, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  In the proposal, the CFPB indicated that although the proposed policy statement “constitutes an agency statement of general policy exempt from notice and public comment pursuant to [the Administrative Procedure Act],” the CFPB was providing a 30-day comment period (which closes on August 22, 2014). 

The trade groups indicate that a longer comment period is consistent with Executive Order 13563, dated January 18, 2011, which states that agencies are expected to promote public participation by providing at least 60 days for public comment.  While noting that the CFPB is not legally bound by the order, the trade groups encourage the CFPB to follow this standard.  

The trade groups also urge the CFPB to provide an opportunity to provide input “on all elements of the proposal as a unified whole rather than piecemeal.”  They note that, in the proposal, the CFPB indicated that it is conducting a study to verify that its proposed method for scrubbing data will sufficiently address consumer privacy concerns. They further note that the CFPB also indicated that it is conducting research and testing relating to the design, wording, location and timing of consumer consent to publication of narratives.  The trade groups urge the CFPB to complete these studies and provide an opportunity of not less than 60 days “to provide input on the entire record including the study results.”