A group of 16 Democratic state attorneys general have sent a letter to the CFPB in response to its Request for Information Regarding Bureau Civil Investigative Demands and Associated Processes.

The AGs express their opposition to any curtailment of the Bureau’s investigatory authority because “it would significantly hinder the Bureau’s ability to fulfill its mandate of promoting fairness, transparency, and competitiveness in the markets for financial products and services.”  According to the AGs, judicial supervision of the Bureau’s investigatory authority “ensure[s] that the Bureau does not overstep its bounds in exercising its civil investigative demand authority.”  They also assert that the CFPB has used its investigative authority “responsibly and effectively.”

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the AGs’ letter is its discussion of the investigative powers available to state AGs, with the authority of various of the AGs who signed the letter used as examples.  The AGs who signed the letter, which include the New York and Pennsylvania AGs, can be expected to use their extensive investigative powers and pursue an aggressive enforcement agenda in support of efforts to fill any void created by a less aggressive CFPB under the Trump Administration.

State AGs and regulators have direct enforcement authority under various federal consumer protection statutes and, pursuant to Section 1042 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, can bring civil actions to enforce the provisions of the CFPA, most notably its prohibition of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.

Ballard Spahr attorneys submitted comments to the CFPB in response to its RFI on the CID process in which we urge the CFPB to make significant changes to the current process to address the lack of basic procedural safeguards and help alleviate the unreasonable burdens that the current process imposes on CID recipients.