The CFPB has published the procedures it will use in examining student lenders. The Student Lending Examination Procedures are an extension of the CFPB’s General Supervision and Examination Manual and will be used as a field guide by CFPB examiners to ensure that private student lenders comply with federal consumer financial laws.
The CFPB has the authority to supervise large banks, as well as nonbanks, that make private student loans, and the procedures released today may be used to examine both types of lenders. Examiners will be assessing whether student lenders have the appropriate processes in place to prevent harm to borrowers. Examiners will be looking to verify that lenders are complying with requirements of federal consumer financial law, including:
- Using accurate, non-discriminatory advertising or marketing: Examiners will evaluate marketing and advertising materials, such as mail and text messages, telephone solicitation scripts, and agreements and disclosures for the products and services to make sure the materials are not deceptive, misleading, or discriminatory.
- Making appropriate disclosures: Examiners will assess whether the lender or service provider makes proper, clear disclosures about loan costs and terms at the time of the consumer’s application, loan approval, and loan disbursement as required under special rules for education lending.
- Providing borrowers with accurate account information: Examiners will determine if the lender or service provider, if required to do so, supplies the borrower with periodic statements that include such information as monthly payment requirements, charges, fees, and interest rate changes.
- Handling borrower inquiries and complaints: Examiners will determine if a lender or service provider has adequate and effective channels to receive customer questions and complaints. Examiners will also evaluate the systems, procedures, and policies used by the company for tracking, handling, investigating, and resolving consumer inquiries, disputes, and complaints.