The CFPB has published a final rule to adjust for inflation the civil penalties within its jurisdiction. The adjustments are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 which, pursuant to a 2015 amendment, required federal agencies to adjust the civil penalties within their jurisdiction by July 1, 2016 and by January 15 every year thereafter. (In June 2016, the CFPB published an interim final rule to make the adjustments required by July 1, 2016.)
The civil penalties adjusted by the CFPB are the Tier 1-3 penalties set forth in Section 1055 of Dodd-Frank, as well as the civil penalties in the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, SAFE Act, and Truth in Lending Act. (To obtain the new penalty amounts, the CFPB multiplied each penalty amount by the “cost-of-living adjustment” multiplier and rounded to the nearest dollar. The multiplier used was 1.01636.) The new penalty amounts apply to civil penalties assessed after January 15, 2017.
The CFPB states in the supplementary information accompanying the final rule that it did not have to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking and provide an opportunity for comment because the adjustments are technical and non-discretionary and “merely apply the statutory method for adjusting civil penalty amounts.” The CFPB also states that OMB Guidance reaffirms that agencies need not complete a notice-and-comment process before making the annual adjustments for inflation.