Last weekend marked the first anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Over the past several weeks, the CFPB has unveiled numerous regulatory proposals and initiatives in such areas as private student loans, mortgage disclosures, and credit reporting agencies. Moreover, the media’s coverage of the CFPB has taken a new tack as information about its initial investigations, exams, and enforcement activity has become public. These investigations and the CFPB’s enforcement actions will have long-term consequences for their targets and will be an important indicator of its approach to consumer protection in the future.

Last week, the CFPB gave industry a taste when it issued a compliance bulletin asserting that institutions will be held responsible for deceptive marketing practices and the actions of their third-party vendors. The CFPB stressed that companies engaging in deceptive practices will be expected to refund fees paid by consumers and pay an appropriate penalty, particularly in cases in which such deceptive practices are widespread.

The CFPB’s work in its first year and more recent announcements underscore the importance of the careful development of specific products and services, policies and procedures, employee incentive plans, advertising and marketing, service provider compliance requirements, fulfillment, quality assurance, monitoring, training, and handling of complaints.

Click here to read the CFPB’s compliance bulletin.