CFPB asks industry to weigh in on rulemaking process

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a request for information Wednesday about certain "discretionary aspects" of the bureau’s rulemaking processes that are not already required by law.

The CFPB said it is looking for input about both the "positive and negative aspects of the bureau's processes" for writing rules, including its outreach and information-gathering efforts, consultations with tribal governments and convening of advisory panels to weigh the impact of rules on small businesses.

In its request, the CFPB said it is not seeking input on "the content of any particular proposed or final rule."

Rather, the agency wants data on "the impacts and costs of participation in rule-makings." The agency also wants information on how rule changes might affect consumers or otherwise show some "public benefit."

The request is part of a broad public review of the agency by acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, who issued the first "call for evidence" in January to examine nearly every aspect of the bureau's operations.

The request for comment on the CFPB's rulemaking functions is the seventh of a dozen requests that Mulvaney has issued so far. The initial phase was a request for input about civil investigative demands, or CIDs, which are issued to companies during enforcement investigations. The process has allowed companies that were targets in investigations by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray to speak their minds about the process.

It remains to be seen what can be changed in the CFPB's rulemaking processes given that many elements are required by law.

The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the CFPB to prescribe rules to carry out and administer 19 different federal consumer protection statutes.

The CFPB noted in its request that the bureau must consider "the potential benefits and costs to consumers and covered persons, including the potential reduction of access by consumers to consumer financial products or services."

The comment period is open for 90 days after the request is published in the Federal Register on March 9.

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