In a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Senator David Vitter questioned “the adequacy and thoroughness of the CFPB’s analysis of small entity impacts” in connection with its payday lending rulemaking process and asked the GAO to conduct an investigation and issue a report on its findings.  Senator Vitter chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

In March 2015, in preparation for convening a small business review panel required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) and Dodd-Frank, the CFPB released its contemplated proposals taking aim at payday (and other small-dollar, high-rate) loans.  As Mark Furletti reported, a SBREFA panel met in April 2015 to discuss the proposals.  (Mark participated at the SBREFA panel as an advisor to a small entity representative (SER).)

In his letter, Senator Vitter listed seven issues he wants the GAO to examine.  Those issues include whether:

  • the CFPB conducted the selection of SERs in a way that guarantees adequate input from a reasonable distribution and representation of small entities that would likely be impacted by the CFPB’s proposals;
  • the SBREFA panel process allows the CFPB to adequately consider the SERs’ views, concerns and data prior to issuing a proposed rule; and
  • the CFPB, in the materials distributed to the SERs of how its proposals would impact the cost of credit for small business, provided an adequate analysis.

Senator Vitter also asked the GAO to interview SERs who participated in the SBREFA panels to gauge their views on the panel process, including whether they believe (1) their respective industry was adequately represented in the selection of participants, and (2) the materials distributed to them adequately prepared them to provide constructive input.