Earlier this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an Enforcement Bulletin (CFPB Bulletin 2011-04) providing information on Early Warning Notices to be issued by the CFPB's Office of Enforcement. The CFPB's bulletins are intended to inform the public of the types of legal violations the Office of Enforcement intends to investigate for potential enforcement action, and the procedures and methods that it will use to do so.

The CFPB is the federal agency with primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in financial services in the United States. The CFPB, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commenced operations on July 21, 2011. The CFPB oversees the financial services industry, issues and enforces consumer protection rules for banks, and collects and monitors consumer complaints.

Before the Office of Enforcement will recommend enforcement proceedings, it may elect to give the subject under investigation notice of the nature of its potential violations and offer the subject the opportunity to submit a written statement in response. The decision on whether to give a notice is discretionary. The purpose of a notice is to ensure that potential subjects of enforcement actions have the opportunity to present their positions to the CFPB before an enforcement action is recommended or commenced.

The primary focus of a written statement in response to a notice should be a discussion of the legal and policy matters relevant to the potential enforcement proceedings. Any factual assertions relied on or presented in the written statement must be made under oath by someone with personal knowledge of such facts.

Unless otherwise specified in the Office of Enforcement's notice, the written statement must be received by the CFPB no more than 14 calendar days after the notice.