The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is planning to finalize its rulemaking on arbitration in early 2017, though it is unclear if the controversial regulation can be completed before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

The CFPB posted its semiannual rulemaking agenda on a blog late Friday with a time frame for the next steps it will take in several areas, including supervision of payday lenders, debt collectors and overdraft.

The agenda has been closely watched by industry for years, but the bureau rarely meets its own timeline for rulemakings.

It faces more internal pressure to do so this time around. The agency's plans on arbitration and payday lending may be in jeopardy with the change in administrations and continued GOP control of Congress.

"The CFPB is going to continue their efforts, but the market and the industries are going to discount the probability of [rulemakings] being finalized due to the election and pending changes," said Ed Mills, a policy analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

Mills said it was "a bit of a stretch" to think the CFPB could finish writing the final arbitration rule soon. He said it is "months away" from being completed.

The bureau has one team devoted to rule-writing, said Mills, so "there has to be some calculus out there that says let's finalize what we can finalize under the structure that we have. So there's probably been a priority shift post-election."

The CFPB's arbitration plan released in May would allow consumers to form or join class actions. The plan would ban the use of mandatory arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from bringing claims for wrongdoing.

Various industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, have vowed to fight the arbitration proposal, but they can only sue once it becomes a final rule. The proposal received 51,801 comments.

A separate plan to restrict payday lending is still in the proposal stage, while pre-rulemaking has begun on regulations governing debt collection and overdraft.

A final payday lending rule is unlikely soon. The payday lending industry flooded the bureau with more than 1 million comments on its payday, auto title and installment lending proposal, and a spokesperson said the CFPB now is manually processing those comment letters.

 

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