In prepared remarks delivered to the Consumer Advisory Board on Thursday, June 8, 2017, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray explained that the CFPB is moving forward with its long-anticipated debt collection rules. K&L Gates previously chronicled the CFPB’s efforts to promulgate debt collection rules here, here, and here.
The Director emphasized his view that new debt collection rules are necessary because of the age of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—enacted in 1977—and the statute’s inability to fit modern methods of communication. According to the Director, the forthcoming rules would benefit consumers and industry participants by clarifying what constitutes unfair collection practices. Substantively, the Director focused on the portion of the CFPB’s July 2016 outline aimed at ensuring that debt collectors possess correct information about debts they are seeking to collect and consumers who owe those debts. In a notable shift, the Director indicated that the CFPB is prepared to issue a single set of debt collection rules relating to the gathering of information by and transfer of information between first-party creditors and third-party debt collectors. Acknowledging that the shift will require the CFPB to take some additional time to iron out “intertwined issues,” the Director suggested that the CFPB will try to fast-track other aspects of its proposed rulemaking, including the information third-party debt collectors must disclose to consumers and the manner in which third-party debt collectors interact with consumers.