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The CFPB: New Year, New Leader

1/10/2019 - By Sarah Oliver, CRCM

Now that the holidays are officially over its time to settle back into real life. Some of us do this more optimistically than others. Perhaps it depends on what your challenges are ahead. One thing seems certain; Kathy Kraninger, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has her work cut out for her. On December 11, 2018, outgoing temporary Acting Director, Mick Mulvaney, officially passed the torch to the newly elected, Kraninger.

First Things First

I see you scratching your heads. Is it the CFPB or the BCFP? During a lengthy press conference on her first day at post, Kraninger confirmed that for now, love it or hate it, the acronym, CFPB, (forever burned into our brains since 2010), is not changing. Whew, now that’s one less thing to cause confusion in this chaotic regulatory environment! Although Mulvaney had been leading efforts to change the Bureau’s name to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), as was originally intended in the Dodd-Frank Act, Kraninger confessed that the move would cost the industry $300 million, and so we assume there are better ways to spend that money. 

The Horizon

Now we focus on what will change. We don’t have the elusive crystal ball, but Kraninger’s December 11th press conference hints on what might be around the corner.

Kraninger confirmed that the CFPB’s current semi-annual Fall Regulatory Agenda will continue to blaze the trail. This agenda reflects various activities and plans including but certainly not limited to: 

  • Rulemaking to exempt certain creditors with assets of $10 billion or less from specific mortgage escrow requirements.
  • Rulemaking to modify the public HMDA data made available to the general public for protecting consumer privacy interests.
  • Research and pre-rulemaking activities regarding the debt collection market, which remains a top source of complaints received by the CFPB.
  • Determining how rulemaking may be helpful to further clarify the meaning of “abusiveness” under the Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts and Practices Act (UDAAP). 

Another notable undertaking Kraninger announced is a 2019 ‘Listening Tour.’ This tour is expected to include visits to each of the CFPB’s regional offices, which roughly houses 1,500 employees. As well as connecting with other regulatory agencies, and industry and consumer advocates, including financial institutions. 

One thing we know is that Kraninger has her work cut out for her as she will seek to strike a balance between a functioning industry and the consumers for which it serves. We wish her well, and that the New Year may bring some positive changes as we wade through the murky waters of regulatory compliance. 

About the Author | Sarah Oliver, CRCM
Sarah Oliver is a manager in the Financial Institution Consulting Group of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund.  Her primary areas of expertise include providing compliance reviews, assisting with special research matters and consulting on deposit and lending-related regulations as well as social media approaches for financial institutions. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.

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