The CFPB has issued a proposal to suspend for one year the Truth in Lending Act/
Regulation Z requirement for issuers of open-end credit cards to send their credit card agreements to the CFPB quarterly for posting in a public database on the CFPB’s website.  The suspension would not affect the TILA/Reg Z requirement for such issuers to post their credit card agreements on their own publicly available websites.  The proposal is scheduled to be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register and comments will be due on or before
March 13, 2015.  The CFPB is proposing that the suspension take effect immediately upon publication of a final rule in the Federal Register.

Pursuant to Reg Z, the quarterly submissions must be sent to the CFPB no later than the first business day on or after January 31, April 30, July 31 and October 31 of each year.  In the supplementary information accompanying the proposal, the CFPB states that it believes the current process, under which issuers submit agreements to the CFPB manually via e-mail, “may be unnecessarily cumbersome for issuers and may make issuers’ own internal tracking of previously submitted agreements difficult.”  The CFPB also observes that the current process for its staff to manually review, catalog, and upload new or revised agreements to the CFPB’s website and remove outdated agreements can extend for several months after the quarterly submission deadlines.

Accordingly, the CFPB indicates that it is working on developing “a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system which would allow issuers to upload agreements directly to the Bureau’s database.”  The CFPB wants the new system to be  less burdensome and easier for issuers to use and enable faster posting of new or revised agreements on the CFPB’s website.

To reduce the burden on issuers while it works on the new system, the CFPB is proposing to suspend the submission requirement for the submissions that would otherwise be due to the CFPB by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016.  Issuers would resume submitting credit card agreements beginning with the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016.  In lieu of providing new and amended agreements and notice of withdrawn agreements for the April 30, 2016 submission, issuers would be permitted to submit to the CFPB a complete, updated set of agreements offered to the public as of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016.

The CFPB also notes that in addition to not affecting the requirement for issuers to post their credit card agreements on their own publicly available websites, the proposal would not affect the annual submission of college credit agreements and related data required by Reg Z or the biannual submission of credit card pricing and availability information required by TILA.

In addition, during the temporary suspension period, the CFPB plans to collect credit card agreements from the largest card issuers’ public websites as of approximately September 2015 and post them to the CFPB’s online consumer credit card agreements database.  According to the CFPB, “[g]iven the longstanding concentration in the credit card market, the Bureau believes that uploading agreements obtained from a relatively small number of issuers’ websites to the Bureau’s own website is sufficient to provide the agreement terms available to the overwhelming majority of credit card consumers in the U.S. as of the mid-point of the proposed suspension period.”