Today (12/17/12), the CFPB published the procedures it will use during examinations of lenders of private student loans. The procedures contained in the 27-page “ Student Lending Examination Procedures” guide (Guide), which the CFPB is calling  “an extension of the CFPB’s (924-page) General Supervision and Examination Manual,” will be used in examining those entities, both banks and non-banks, that offer private student loans. The release of the Guide not only signals the CFPB’s intention to commence its examinations of these entities in the immediate future, but offers hints as to the type of issues that the CFPB may focus on in other examinations.

In the Guide, the CFPB warns that “each examination will cover one or more of the” modules identified in the guide, including:

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Lead Generation;
  • Customer Application, Qualification, Loan Origination, and Disbursement;
  • Loan Repayment, Account Maintenance, Payoff Processing, and Payment Plans;
  • Customer Inquiries and Complaints;
  • Collections, Accounts in Default, and Credit Reporting; and
  • Information Sharing and Privacy

While the topics covered by each these modules are also addressed in the CFPB’s General Supervision and Examination Manual, only one—Customer Inquiries and Complaints—is specifically identified as a “module” in both documents. This suggests that these topics, which are not unique to student loans, may be of particular  concern to the CFPB in other areas of consumer credit and not just student loans. For example, the  “Advertising, Marketing, and Lead Generation” module appears to borrow from the CFPB’s recent enforcement actions against Discover, Capital One and American Express in this area. Stay tuned to the CFPB-Lawblog for updates and analysis of the Guide and the role it plays in the CFPB’s examinations.