CFPB seeks input on ways to reform enforcement process

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking comment on all aspects of its enforcement processes as the bureau continues to be reshaped under the leadership of acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

The CFPB said in a request for information Wednesday that it is seeking public comment "on how best to achieve meaningful burden reduction or other improvement to the processes used by the bureau to enforce federal consumer financial law." The examination of its enforcement policies is part of a comprehensive review of all agency procedures that Mulvaney launched last month.

The CFPB specifically is seeking feedback on issues such as coordinating enforcement activity with other federal or state agencies that may have overlapping jurisdiction. Mulvaney discussed this issue on Tuesday with Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting.

The CFPB also asked for comment on the nature of "communication between the bureau and subjects of its investigations." The request indicates the bureau may become more open with companies that are the subject of an investigation, by allowing companies to discuss the case with the bureau before it takes any action.

The CFPB asked whether companies that are the subject of potential enforcement actions should have "the right to make an in-person presentation to bureau personnel prior to the bureau determining whether it should initiate legal proceedings."

The bureau also wants comment on how the CFPB calculates civil money penalties and whether the agency should adopt a so-called civil money penalty "matrix." Other bank regulatory agencies use such matrices to ensure consistent calculations of monetary fines.

Last month, Mulvaney launched a review of all aspects of the CFPB, issuing "a call for evidence," to examine the bureau's policies and practices under his Democratic predecessor, Richard Cordray, who is now running for governor of Ohio.

The CFPB first called for feedback on its civil investigative demand process, whereby it investigates companies for possible enforcement actions and fines. The second request dealt with the agency's administrative adjudication process, which is an internal proceeding before an administrative law judge that is an alternative to the agency's filing a civil action in federal district court.

The CFPB said it wants feedback on how to make its enforcement process more efficient and effective, including suggestions on "ways to improve outcomes for both consumers and covered entities."

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Enforcement Enforcement actions Regulatory relief Mick Mulvaney CFPB