Key members of the CFPB’s enforcement, regulatory and supervision offices spoke yesterday at PLI’s 20th Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute in New York City.  The session addressed recent developments and upcoming initiatives at the CFPB, and took the form of a Q&A between the moderator and a panel of practitioners and CFPB personnel.

The panelists from the CFPB included Anthony Alexis, Assistant Director of Enforcement; Diane E. Thompson, Managing Counsel, Office of Regulations; and Peggy L. Twohig, Assistant Director for Nonbank Supervision, Office of Supervision Policy.  Alan Kaplinsky of Ballard Spahr co-chaired the program, and acted as moderator of the CFPB session.  Chris Willis of Ballard Spahr was a panelist for the CFPB session.

During this rare opportunity to directly question key members of the CFPB, several noteworthy items were discussed, including the following:

  • The number of examiners in the CFPB’s Office of Supervision has roughly doubled in the past year.
  • The CFPB recently has made a concerted effort to issue exam reports or PARR letters much more quickly after the completion of supervisory examinations than has occurred in the past.  The CFPB also attempts to offer meaningful feedback during meetings that take place at the conclusion of supervisory examinations.
  • Regarding enforcement activities, it was repeatedly stressed that “facts matter” in determining whether particular conduct constitutes a UDAAP violation, whether enforcement activity is appropriate, and the amount of any civil penalty assessed against a company.  It was further noted that the CFPB evaluates the facts in light of the unfairness, deception and abusiveness standards.
  • Various factors can inform the decision whether to address a matter through a confidential supervisory resolution rather than a public enforcement action.  The factors noted were consistent with those regularly articulated by CFPB speakers, namely violation-focused factors (number of consumers affected, the magnitude of the harm, and the nature of the violation); institution-focused factors (the institution’s behavior after the violation occurred); and policy-focused factors.
  • The CFPB takes the position that 100% remediation to consumers is “non-negotiable.”
  • The detailed release of information about the payday rule in connection with the SBREFA process was not necessarily the approach the CFPB has followed, or would follow, in connection with other rulemaking processes.
  • The SBREFA process for debt collection rulemaking will be commenced in approximately 4-5 months, which suggests to us that proposed rules may be released toward the end of 2015 or early 2016.