CFPB to kick off symposium series with forum on 'abusive' standard

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WASHINGTON—The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will hold its first symposium later this month in a series designed to provide dialogue on consumer protections.

The event, scheduled for June 25, will feature two panel discussions on the definition of "abusive" under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Dodd-Frank Act allows the CFPB to take action to address unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices, collectively referred to as UDAAP. Unfair and deceptive activity both have a longer legal precedent, but the 2010 law introduced the concept of companies getting punished for abusive conduct and the newer standard has sparked confusion.

“The symposium will provide a public forum for the Bureau and the public to hear various perspectives on the meaning of abusiveness,” the CFPB said in a release.

The event will be held at the agency’s headquarters and will also be webcast.

CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger and Brian Johnson, the agency’s deputy director, will open the event with remarks, to be followed by a panel with academic professionals versed in consumer protection.

The panel will feature Patricia McCoy of Boston College Law School, Todd Zywicki of George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, Howard Beales of George Washington University and Adam Levitin of Georgetown Law School. Beales was previously the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The second panel will “examine how the abusive standard has been used in practice.” Among the presenters on the second panel are Lucy Morris, former CFPB deputy enforcement director, and Eric Mogilnicki, the former chief of staff for former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

The panels will be moderated by Tom Pahl, the policy associate director of research, markets and regulation for the CFPB, and David Bleicken, the CFPB’s deputy associate director of supervision, enforcement and fair lending.

In a statement in April announcing the symposium series, Kraninger said the discussions would be used to inform the CFPB of appropriate next steps on a particular issue.

“There are a number of outstanding, challenging issues the Bureau is facing—some of which Congress directed us to address,” she said. “I believe that the best way to address these issues is with proactive dialogue.”

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UDAAP Regulatory guidance Regulatory reform Kathy Kraninger CFPB