The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued its second warning against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for unclear and inefficient supervision.
In a letter sent to the agency on Thursday, David Hirschman, the group's CEO, said the agency continues to "cloud" its activities, which "imposes significant costs" to businesses and offered suggestions to address the group's concerns.
"The effect of this continued uncertainty and inefficiency is not simply to impose excessive, unjustified costs on legitimate businesses seeking to comply with the law," Hirschman said. "It directly constrains the lending, especially lending to small businesses that our economy desperately needs in order to grow and create jobs for the millions of Americans who remain unemployed."
This is the second time the Chamber has cautioned the CFPB on its supervision and investigatory practices, and was a follow-up letter to the one first sent in July. In its most recent letter, the Chamber said the CFPB did provide information on its organizational structure and regulatory agenda. However, the CFPB has taken "no action" on most of the Chamber's suggestions, the letter stated.
The Chamber said the CFPB should: have more experienced hires and well-trained staff; better consistency among examinations and schedules; and clarify the role of enforcement attorney who attend exams. The group also recommended the CFPB limit "onerous" data requests to companies and not impost "one-off" standards on companies that aren't public, formal rules.
Hirschman specifically noted the "burdensome" demands brought on by civil investigations such as the request to PHH Corporation posted on the CFPB's website. The agency requested a plethora of documents related to PHH's mortgage division for more than a decade.
"Your rejection of PHH's challenge to the breadth of this request is troubling because it effectively gives carte blanche to Bureau investigators to impose huge financial burdens on companies at the outset of an investigation," Hirschman said. "We are not aware of any other agency that routinely issues such broad demands."
The letter's timing is ironic considering it followed a Senate Bank Committee hearing Thursday when Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave regulators an earful on not using a heavy fist against banks when pursuing wrongdoing.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray has repeatedly emphasized the Bureau's efforts to provide clarity and plain-English regulations. They also announced this week a plan to help companies under their jurisdiction comply with the new mortgage rules that go into effect next year.
"We are committed to doing what we can to achieve effective, efficient, complete implementation by engaging with all stakeholders in the coming year," said Cordray in his prepared remarks before the Senate Bank Committee. "We know that it is in the best interests of the consumer for the industry to understand these rules - because if they cannot understand, they cannot properly implement."