The CFPB has issued its 2016 Plain Writing Act Compliance Report. Under the PWA, federal “executive agencies,” including the CFPB, are required to use plain language in documents that: are necessary for obtaining information about a federal government benefit or service or filing taxes; provide information about a federal government benefit or service; or explain to the public how to comply with a requirement that the federal government administers or enforces.
The report discusses the CFPB’s efforts to comply with the PWA and promote the use of plain writing in its communications. As it did in previous PWA reports, the CFPB states in the new report that it has adopted plain language “as a core principle” for all of the CFPB’s printed and online consumer-facing content. Examples given by the CFPB are its “Ask CFPB” online Q&A tool and its consumer-facing advisories and other information on various topics such as opening and managing a checking account, preventing elder financial abuse, sending money abroad, paying for college, and retirement planning.
In the new report, as in previous reports, the CFPB states that while the PWA does not apply to regulations, it generally provides summaries written in plain language at the beginning of proposed or final consumer protection regulations. It also notes that its small entity compliance guides and other documents intended for use by industry in implementing regulations are “written in plain language appropriate for the intended audience.”