WASHINGTON Mortgage disclosures and supervision of non-bank entities will be top concerns for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as it enters its third official year of operation, according to its semi-annual rulemaking agenda released Wednesday.
Although most federal agencies must release their agendas twice a year in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget, the CFPB's is particularly lengthy, focusing on meeting regulatory deadlines under Dodd-Frank and expanding its authority over nonbanks.
The agency said it will use its massive online consumer complaint database launched earlier this year to help direct its attention to certain nonbanks and financial products.
"We have been conducting outreach and research to assess issues in various other markets for consumer financial products and services over many months," wrote Kelly Thompson Cochran, the CFPB's assistant director of regulations, in a blog posting discussing the agency's agenda. "As a result of this work, we are now beginning to consider whether regulations may be appropriate to address concerns raised about debt collection, which is the single biggest source of complaints to the federal government, and payday and deposit advance products, which were the focus of a recent report."
For example, Cochran said that the agency is developing a proposal initially hinted at last year that would "strengthen" consumer protections on prepaid cards.
The CFPB is also continuing to focus on nonbank supervision as it most recently issued a rule last month to supervise certain nonbanks that are offering financial products which the agency says pose a risk to consumers.
Another top priority for the agency is streamlining disclosures and regulations that were transferred to the CFPB through the Dodd-Frank Act.
"Specifically, we are expecting to issue a proposal regarding the notices that consumers receive each year from their financial institutions to explain the companies' information sharing practices," Cochran wrote. "A number of commenters had suggested that eliminating the annual privacy notices where there has been no change in policies would reduce unwanted paperwork for consumers and unnecessary regulatory burdens, at least where a financial institution limits the sharing of information with third-parties."
The CFPB also has to finalize a rule that would consolidate two mortgage disclosure forms for consumers through the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Cochran said the final rule is expected to be issued in the fall, pending results of additional testing. Implementation of the combined mortgage disclosures will likely begin after January 2014, when lenders must comply with the new Qualified Mortgage and Ability-to-Repay rules.
"We are now focusing intensely on supporting the implementation process for those rules, and have proposed some clarifications and amendments to the rules to address questions raised by stakeholders," Cochran said. "We are continuing research, analysis, and outreach on a number of other consumer financial services markets, and will update our next semi-annual agenda to reflect the results of further prioritization and planning."