The CFPB announced yesterday that it has transmitted a proposal to Congress that would give it clear authority to conduct supervisory examinations for compliance with the Military Lending Act (MLA).
Last summer, former CFPB Acting Director Mulvaney reportedly announced that he planned to end routine examinations for MLA compliance because the Dodd-Frank Act did not give the CFPB the authority to conduct such examinations. For the reasons we detailed, we agreed with Acting Director Mulvaney’s reading of Dodd-Frank. As we observed, while the MLA gives the CFPB authority to enforce the MLA, nothing in the plain language of the MLA or Dodd-Frank currently gives the CFPB authority to conduct MLA examinations. As might be expected, Mr. Mulvaney’s plan met with strong criticism from Democratic lawmakers and state attorneys general, who asserted that the CFPB did possess the requisite examination authority.
The CFPB’s legislative proposal would amend Sections 1024 and 1025 of Dodd-Frank which establish the CFPB’s supervisory authority as to, respectively, non-banks and banks with more than $10 billion in total assets. It would add a substantially similar provision to each section that would provide that the CFPB has “nonexclusive authority to require reports and conduct examinations on a periodic basis…for the purposes of—”
- assessing compliance with the MLA
- obtaining information about the non-bank or bank’s activities and compliance systems or procedures
- detecting and assessing risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services.
The proposal would also add language to Section 1026 of Dodd-Frank which addresses the CFPB’s supervisory authority as to banks with $10 billion or less in total assets to provide that the CFPB (1) can include its examiners in examinations performed by a bank’s prudential regulator to assess not only the bank’s compliance with “Federal consumer financial law” but also MLA compliance, and (2) the requirement for the CFPB to notify a bank’s prudential regulator and recommend appropriate action when it has reason to believe the bank has engaged in potential violations includes not only material violations of a “Federal consumer financial law” but also material violations of the MLA.