Consumer Bureau Wants Feedback on Supervisory Revamp

By Chris Bruce

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Feb. 14 asked for comments on how to improve its supervisory efforts, marking the latest bid by the agency for feedback on how it does its job.

In a notice expected to publish in the Federal Register Feb. 20, the CFPB asked for feedback on the examinations process, including how it collects information from supervised companies prior to exams, the effectiveness of its exam manual and onsite work by examiners, and how well the agency communicates with companies. The agency said it will take comments for 90 days.

Among other points, the agency also asked whether better communication is needed in various areas, including in connection with matters requiring attention in the wake of exams, and whether the CFPB should coordinate examinations with other federal and state agencies.

The CFPB has supervisory authority over insured depository institutions and credit unions with total assets over $10 billion and their affiliates, as well as certain other nonbank companies, such as mortgage firms, payday lenders, and student loan servicers.

The Feb. 14 notice is the fourth in four weeks as the Trump-led bureau conducts a top-to-bottom self-examination under acting Director Mick Mulvaney. The CFPB has already asked for input on enforcement procedures, civil investigative demands and administrative adjudications.

However, the latest missive suggests that fewer changes may be in store for the CFPB’s supervisory efforts, according to attorney Lucy Morris, a former CFPB deputy enforcement director.

“This one reads more plain vanilla and includes a strong statement that the `Bureau’s ability to supervise entities is an essential part’ of its mission,” Morris, a partner in Washington with Hudson Cook LLP, told Bloomberg Law in an email. “This suggests that acting Director Mulvaney views supervision as an important tool of the Bureau that may not require substantial changes.”

David Russell, who leads the public policy and government affairs group in the Washington offices of Bryan Cave, said the notice likely will prompt a wide range of suggestions on how the CFPB might chart a new course on supervision.

“Everything can be on the table and I expect there will be a number of ideas put forward to clip their wings a bit,” Russell said in an email to Bloomberg Law. “Particular attention may be paid to perceived abuses of process and power.”

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