In 2014, we started our Sirote Consumer Finance Blog about the CFPB and the subject of consumer credit compliance. Recall that the CFPB was just then exerting its considerable powers and influence. We were seeing directives and settlements coming out of the Bureau weekly—some were absolutely astounding, while others were just plain scary for banks and finance companies.
Since that time we have blogged pretty routinely, initially twice a week, but more recently once a month. We have not wanted to fill-up your inbox unless we thought that we had meaningful information to share.
Today, we want to briefly reflect and tell you why we are writing only infrequently these days.
Times have significantly changed in the world of the CFPB. With the election of President Trump, and the ascendency of a Republican Congress, the CFPB's predominance as a force for creditors to fear has seriously diminished. And, that's really an understatement. Just think about what has happened in the last year: The Bureau's arbitration rule has been vetoed; the Small Dollar Loan Rule has been decimated and may face the same fate; and, debt collection rulemaking seems to have been placed in the deep freeze. The CFPB, now under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, has virtually taken consumer compliance “off the table.” For the foreseeable future, the CFPB will not be issuing regulations or rules, will not be investigating finance companies or banks, and will not be imposing civil money penalties. The days of Director Cordray are over; and with his resignation, the days of activist leadership and aggressive regulators at the Bureau are in hiatus.
Like the CFPB, the FTC, the FCC and the prudential bank regulators have pretty much withdrawn from the consumer compliance field.
Congress, too, is not predisposed to legislate in the field of consumer protection. It has in fact been since 2010—with the passage of the Dodd Frank Act itself—that we have seen any legislation from Washington addressing consumer credit compliance.
We will continue to write about developments in the world of consumer credit protection, when merited. And, we will continue our periodic live webinars to assist with existing consumer law compliance. However, you may not be hearing much by way of blogging from us—at least not before the next mid-term elections. Clearly, the forces opposing the CFPB and the Dodd-Frank Act are ruling the day—until the next swing of the pendulum.