CFPB Actions and Announcements Reflect Looming Changes in Financial Services Regulatory Landscape


Republished with permission from the Northwest Credit Union Association.

Several recent actions and announcements by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) signal important changes underway in the regulatory landscape for credit unions.  These issues are not necessarily new, but the CFPB has shown clearly that it intends to step up actions in these areas.  This affects all credit unions, not just those directly examined by the CFPB, because: a) the CFPB has the power to investigate based on consumer complaints; b) other agencies such as the NCUA and state regulators view the CFPB’s position on these issues as authoritative - these agencies tend to “keep up” with the CPFB in protecting consumers; and c) plaintiff attorneys may also latch onto such announcements to support claims under similar state unlawful and deceptive practices.   Finally, these announcements evidence the CFPB’s apparent return to an approach of “regulation by enforcement,” in which new interpretations or applications of existing regulations are not done through the rulemaking process (in which proposed regulations and official interpretations are published in the federal register and subject to public review and comment before becoming effective).  Instead, financial service providers must glean the nuances of the regulatory landscape from CFPB enforcement actions, speeches and news releases, FAQ, and other informal CFPB activity.

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