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CFPB releases fall 2018 rulemaking agenda

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its fall 2018 rule-making agenda, which contained updates on rulemaking efforts such as debt collection and payday and small-dollar lending.

The CFPB said it is still researching the debt collection market and considering how it might apply decades-old debt collection laws to modern collection practices. Debt collection is the top source of complaints for the agency; by March 2019, the agency expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to address issues such as communication practices and consumer disclosures.

The CFPB also expects to reconsider the existing 2017 payday and small-dollar lending rule and issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in early 2019. The notice will reconsider the merits of the 2017 rule as well as contemplate changes to the compliance date, which is currently set for August 2019.

Compass Point analyst Isaac Boltansky wrote in an Oct. 18 report that the efforts to reshape this rule are "ambiguous" but indicate that the rule could undergo "substantive structural changes that will dramatically lessen its impact" on companies in the sector. He predicted a debate over the ability-to-repay requirement, a lessening of the verification mandate, the potential for a "safe harbor" for bank deposit advance products, and a "softening" of the cooling-off period.

The CFPB also expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in spring 2019 to address "some or all" of the issues related to its work on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. It also moved its small-business lending rule to longer-term action status. The Bureau reiterated that it continues to re-examine the Equal Credit Opportunity Act's disparate impact doctrine following a recent Supreme Court case and Congressional disapproval of a prior bulletin from the agency on indirect auto lender compliance. It is also considering how it could clarify the definition of "abusiveness" in the Dodd-Frank Act.