WASHINGTON The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finalized revisions to its international money transfer rule that will provide certain remittances with a longer exemption.
The agency's remittance rule requires money transfer providers to disclose certain estimates to consumers about the costs of a remittance. But the revisions, finalized Friday, are primarily meant to extend an exemption for remittances offered by banks and credit unions in cases where a cost estimate cannot be determined because of reasons outside an institution's control. Such reasons could include fluctuating prices set by third parties.
In such circumstances, the Dodd-Frank Act had allowed for an exemption, but it was set to expire July 21, 2015. The CFPB extended it for five more years, but cautioned that it would not add any more time beyond that.
"If the temporary exception expired in July 2015, current market conditions would make it impossible for insured institutions to know the exact fees and exchange rates associated with a minority of their remittance transfers," the CFPB said in its press release. "Without the exemption, these insured institutions reported that they would have been unable to send some transfers to certain parts of the world that they currently serve. The bureau believes that this exception is limited and is not used for most remittances by insured institutions."
The agency proposed the revisions in April after its remittance rule went into effect in October. The rule requires money transfer providers to disclose certain cost estimates, including from third parties, to the consumer. The rule also requires better resolution of remittance errors and strengthens a consumer's rights to cancel a transfer.
"It is critical that consumers can send money abroad safely," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in the press release. "Today's final rule will help ensure these changes are implemented smoothly and that consumers will be well-protected during that process."
The CFPB had proposed prolonging the exemption following concerns from some financial companies about determining the exact costs from certain third parties. Remittance cost estimates are harder to determine when the money is being sent in an "open-network" transfer, like a wire transfer, because there can be multiple parties involved.
"By contrast, closed-network providers send cash to recipients through agents, so they are typically able to control or know the transfer terms in advance," the CFPB said. "This allows them to disclose exact amounts to their customers."
The CFPB said it will not extend the temporary exemption past July 21, 2020, in part because it believes insured institutions will "develop reasonable ways to provide consumers with exact fees and exchange rates for all remittance disclosures" by then.