Section 1033 of Dodd-Frank requires that "[s]ubject to rules prescribed by the Bureau, a covered person shall make available to a consumer, upon request, information in the control or possession of such person concerning the consumer financial product or service that the consumer obtained from such covered person, including information related to any transaction, or series of transactions, to the account including costs, charges, and usage data." This Section of the DFA forms the basis for the CFPB's recent Request for Information (RFI) regarding consumer access to financial information. The Bureau also cites the DFA's requirements that the Bureau implement and enforce consumer financial law to ensure consumer access to fair, transparent, and competitive markets for consumer financial products and services.

The RFI, and accompanying field hearing, deal with what the CFPB terms "consumer-permissioned access"—which consists of consumer access to consumer financial account and account-related information, whether directly or through a third party acting with the consumer's permission. The RFI notes that services that make use of "consumer-permissioned access" include:

  • Personal financial management (PFM) tools and services
  • Automatic or motivational savings mechanisms
  • Budgeting analysis and advice services
  • Product recommendations
  • Account verification
  • Loan application information verification
  • Credit decisioning
  • Cash flow management alerts and similar services
  • Funds transfer and bill payment
  • Fraud and identity theft detection
  • Investment management and other non-consumer business services

Along with highlighting data security and privacy issues, including concerns about the application of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and liability for unauthorized transactions, the RFI states that the CFPB "does not believe that consumer views have been adequately represented in this area." Such consumer-permissioned access, the Bureau worries, may be restricted "in ways that undermine consumer interests identified in [S]ection 1033."

The RFI seeks information about current market practices, as well as discussion of how the commenters believe market practices may or should change over time.