The CFPB has announced that it has established a new process intended to make “it easier for the public to meaningfully engage with the agency and request regulatory changes.”

The new process allows members of the public to submit petitions for rulemaking (including amendments to or repeals of existing rules) directly to the CFPB either electronically or by mail.  Petitions will be posted on public dockets for review and comment unless the CFPB, in its discretion, decides not to do so.

According to the CFPB’s press release, the new process follows recommendations issued by the Administrative Conference of the United States.  The Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requires federal agencies to give members of the public the right to petition for the issuance, amendment or repeal of a rule.  The APA requires agencies to respond to petitions for rulemaking within a reasonable time, give petitioners  prompt notice when a petition is denied in whole or in part, along with a brief statement of the grounds for the denial.  However, the APA does not establish procedures agencies must follow in connection with petitions.

Among the recommendations made by the Administrative Conference was that an agency with rulemaking authority “should have procedures, embodied in a written an publicly available policy statement or procedure rule, explaining how the agency, receives, process, and responds to petitions for rulemaking filed under the [APA].”  The CFPB has published its new procedures for submitting petitions on its website.

In the CFPB’s history, three rulemaking petitions have been filed.  The only petition that has been granted was filed by the Bank Policy Institute and the American Bankers Association seeking rulemaking by the CFPB to codify the “Interagency Statement Clarifying the Role of Supervisory Guidance” issued in September 2018.  In response to the petition, to codify the Interagency Statement, the CFPB issued a proposed rule on the role of supervisory guidance which was finalized in January 2021.