The CFPB has issued its Fall 2020 Semi-Annual Report to Congress covering the period April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

With Director Kraninger having submitted her resignation to President Biden last week, the report represents the CFPB’s fifth and final semi-annual report under Director Kraninger’s leadership.  Somewhat ironically, although the prior four reports did not provide aggregate numbers for consumer relief and civil money penalties obtained by the Bureau, the new report states that in calendar year 2020, “the Bureau filed the second-highest number of actions in the Bureau’s history, secured approximately $875 million dollars in customer relief and penalties, and opened investigations of banks and nonbanks in all of the Bureau’s markets.”

The new report indicates that the Bureau had 1,504 employees as of September 30, 2020, representing an increase of 74 employees from the number of employees as of September 30, 2019 (1,430).

The report’s section on significant problems faced by consumers in shopping for or obtaining consumer financial products or services includes a discussion of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer credit and COVID-related scams targeted at older consumers.

In addition to discussing ongoing or past developments that we have covered in previous blog posts, the report includes the following noteworthy information:

  • The Bureau’s Fair Lending Supervision program initiated two supervisory activities onsite during the period covered by the report, which was fewer than the number of such activities initiated during the period covered by the prior semi-annual report.  However, in response to the pandemic, the Bureau initiated a significant number of Prioritized Assessments (PAs).  As a result of the PAs, the Bureau initiated significantly more fair lending supervisory events during the period covered by the report than during the prior reporting period.  The Bureau issued fewer matters requiring attention or memoranda of understanding than in the prior period.  In addition, the Bureau provided supervisory recommendations “pertaining to supervisory concerns related to weak or nonexistent fair lending policies and procedures, risk assessments, and fair lending training.”
  • During the period covered by the report, the Bureau filed one fair lending public enforcement action and referred three ECOA matters to the DOJ.  The referrals involved “redlining in mortgage origination based on race and national origin, discrimination in mortgage origination based on receipt of public assistance income, and discrimination in auto origination based on race and national origin.”  The report states that the Bureau “has a number of ongoing and newly opened fair lending investigations of institutions.”
  • The report’s assessment of compliance and common TILA and EFTA violations reported for the 2019 calendar year by the FFIEC agencies that conduct TILA and EFTA compliance examinations indicates that more institutions were cited for violations of Regulation Z than Regulation E in 2019.  The report describes the most frequently cited Regulation Z and Regulation E violations during 2019.

President Biden’s inauguration on January 20 has quickly brought leadership change to the CFPB with the appointment of David Uejio to serve as Acting Director and the nomination of Rohit Chopra to serve as Director.  As a result, the Bureau’s plans for rulemaking and other initiatives described in the Semi-Annual Report can be expected to be reassessed by new leadership.  On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET, Ballard’s Consumer Financial Services Group will hold a webinar, “The Times at the CFPB are A-Changing: Perspectives on the CFPB Under Acting Director Uejio and Director Chopra.”  Click here to register.