Spring 2014 rulemaking agenda
Today, we’re posting a semi-annual update of our rulemaking agenda in conjunction with a broader initiative led by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions across the federal government. Portions of the Unified Agenda are published in the Federal Register, and the full set of materials is also available.
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, federal agencies are required to publish regulatory agendas twice a year. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now by voluntarily participating in the Unified Agenda. Our regulatory agenda includes rulemaking actions in the following stages: pre-rule, proposed rule, final rule, long term actions, and completed actions.
Our agenda includes a number of rulemakings mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. For example, we recently convened a small business review (SBREFA) panel to discuss potential amendments to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, some of which were mandated by Section 1094 of the Dodd-Frank Act. We’re also focusing intensely on supporting the implementation process for our recent rulemaking to implement a Dodd-Frank Act directive to consolidate and streamline federal mortgage disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. We’re also continuing work with stakeholders to address questions that have arisen with regard to the 2013 mortgage rules, including issuing additional clarifications and amendments as warranted.
Defining larger participants
We’re also continuing rulemakings to implement our supervisory program for certain nonbank entities by defining “larger participants” in various markets for consumer financial products and services. For example, we’re developing a proposal to identify “larger participants” in the market for auto lending. We’ve previously defined larger participants in the consumer debt collection, credit reporting, and student loan servicing markets and are now in the process of finalizing a rule defining larger participants in the international money transfer market.
We’ve been doing research and outreach to assess issues in various other markets for consumer financial products and services over many months. In November 2013, we issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment, data, and information from the public about debt collection, which is the single biggest source of complaints to the federal government. We received more than 23,000 comments in response to the notice, and in our 2014 annual report on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, reported that we received more than 30,000 consumer complaints in this area.
Payday loans and prepaid cards
We’re researching and considering whether rulemaking is warranted in the areas of payday and deposit advance products, as well as consumer overdraft products. We held a field hearing in March 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, and also released a report that analyzed payday lending and found that four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed within 14 days. We’re also expecting to build on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we published in 2012 concerning prepaid cards by issuing a proposed rule to strengthen federal consumer protections for these products. We’ve been testing potential disclosures that we may propose to be used on the packaging of prepaid cards.
We’re returning to a topic that had been raised as part of an earlier initiative to seek comment on ways to streamline and modernize regulations that we had inherited from other agencies. Specifically, we are expecting to issue a proposal regarding the notices that consumers receive each year from their financial institutions to explain the companies’ information sharing practices. A number of commenters had suggested that eliminating the annual privacy notices where there has been no change in policies would reduce unwanted paperwork for consumers and unnecessary regulatory burdens, at least where a financial institution limits the sharing of information with third parties.
We’re continuing research, analysis, and outreach on a number of other consumer financial services markets, and will update our next semi-annual agenda to reflect the results of further prioritization and planning.