Request For Information To Assist the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, 18214-18217 [2020-06749]

Download as PDF 18214 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 63 / Wednesday, April 1, 2020 / Notices advisory-panel-meetings/ as it becomes available. The Habitat AP meeting agenda includes the following: Updates on NOAA Fisheries Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Activities for the South Atlantic Region including the development of a South Atlantic Ecosystem Status Report and a South Atlantic Climate Vulnerability Analysis; NOAA Mapping and Characterization of South Atlantic Deep Water Ecosystems. AP members will also receive a status report on the Council action to designate Bullet and Frigate Mackerel as Ecosystem Component Species to the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan and a report from Council/NOAA Fisheries Essential Fish Habitat Consultation and Regional Innovations Workshop. The AP will receive updates on the following: The South Atlantic Ecopath with Ecosim Model and Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Workgroup Review and Development of Ecospace; the Kitty Hawk Wind Project; Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) Products associated with extreme events and 2021 IOOS (Integrated Ocean Observing System) proposal: And Fishery Independent Research in the South Atlantic Region through the Southeast Reef Fish Survey (SERFS). The AP will develop recommendations as necessary for consideration by the Council’s Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee. Special Accommodations The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office (see ADDRESSES) 3 days prior to the meeting. Note: The times and sequence specified in this agenda are subject to change. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 27, 2020. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES [FR Doc. 2020–06801 Filed 3–31–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:31 Mar 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No. CFPB–2020–0013] Request For Information To Assist the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. ACTION: Notice and request for information. AGENCY: The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is seeking comments and information from interested parties to assist the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law (Taskforce). The Taskforce is an independent body within the Bureau and reports to the Bureau’s Director. The Taskforce is charged with developing recommendations on harmonizing, modernizing, and updating the Federal consumer financial laws, as well as identifying gaps in knowledge that should be addressed through research, ways to improve consumer understanding of markets and products, and potential conflicts or inconsistencies in existing regulations and guidance. DATES: Comments must be received by June 1, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit responsive information and other comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB–2020– 0013, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Email: 2020-RFI-Taskforce@ cfpb.gov. Include Docket No. CFPB– 2020–0013 in the subject line of the message. • Hand Delivery/Courier/Mail: Comment Intake, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. Instructions: The Bureau encourages the early submission of comments. All submissions must include the document title and docket number. Please note the number of the question on which you are commenting at the top of each response (you do not need to answer all questions). Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the Bureau is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically. In general, all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments will be available for public inspection and copying at 1700 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20552, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern standard SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 time. You can make an appointment to inspect the documents by telephoning 202–435–7275. All submissions in response to this request for information, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, or names of other individuals, should not be included. Submissions will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nat Weber, Chief of Staff, or Matt Cameron, Staff Director, Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, at 202–435– 7700. If you require this document in an alternative electronic format, please contact CFPB_accessibility@cfpb.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background The Director of the Bureau established the Taskforce pursuant to the executive and administrative powers conferred on the Bureau by sections 1013(a) and 1021(c) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The Taskforce is charged with (1) examining the existing legal and regulatory environment facing consumers and providers of consumer financial products and services; and (2) reporting its recommendations for ways to improve and strengthen Federal consumer financial laws, including recommendations for resolving conflicting requirements or inconsistencies, reducing unwarranted regulatory burdens in light of market or technological developments, improving consumer understanding of markets and products and services, and identifying gaps in knowledge that the Bureau should address through future research. Where possible and within time constraints, the Taskforce’s report may include recommendations relating to the 18 enumerated consumer laws and titles X and XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act, including those provisions relating to unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The Taskforce’s recommendations may include actions that the Bureau could carry out using its current authorities and actions that would require legislation to implement. The Taskforce is inspired in part by an earlier commission established in 1968 by the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Act). In addition to various changes to consumer law generally, the Act established a national commission to conduct original research and provide Congress with recommendations relating to the regulation of consumer E:\FR\FM\01APN1.SGM 01APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 63 / Wednesday, April 1, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES credit. The commission’s report contained original empirical data, information, and analyses—all of which undergird the report’s final recommendations. The data, findings, and recommendations from the commission were all made public and the report led to significant legislative and regulatory developments in consumer finance. II. Requests for Information The Taskforce is considering what recommendations might promote the welfare of consumers in connection with the market for consumer financial products and services. The Taskforce seeks input from the public at this time to help identify areas of consumer protection on which it should focus its research and analysis during the balance of its one-year appointment. This Request for Information will be one of multiple opportunities for the public to provide feedback directly to the Taskforce and thus to help inform its recommendations. Congress created the Bureau to ensure that ‘‘all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services and that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive.’’ 1 In general, consumers benefit from markets characterized by robust competition, which can offer attractive choices and fair prices. In addition, the terms of the services must be clear, so that consumers can make informed choices, and must be free of unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices. The Taskforce is seeking information from interested parties on which areas of the consumer financial services markets are functioning well—that is, which areas are fair, transparent, and competitive—and which might benefit from regulatory changes that could facilitate competition and materially increase consumer welfare. To that end, this Request for Information asks a series of questions about the market for consumer financial products and services, with a special interest in the below markets (though respondents should feel free to suggest others): • Automobile financing (credit or lease) • Credit cards • Credit repair • Consumer reporting • Debt collection by third parties (collection agencies) • Debt collection by creditors (inhouse collections) • Debt settlement 1 12 U.S.C. 5511(a). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:31 Mar 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 • Deposit accounts (checking or savings) • Electronic payments • Money transfers • Mortgage origination and servicing • Prepaid cards • Small-dollar loans (installment, payday, vehicle title loans) • Student loans and student loan servicing As articulated more specifically in the questions below, the Taskforce is interested in information about how well financial markets are functioning for consumers. Efficient markets offer consumers a wide selection of products and services that meet their financial needs at competitive prices. Consumers can capture those benefits when they have truthful information about the prices and features of the products and services they seek. By contrast, markets that perform poorly are less likely to deliver products and services or offer them at prices commensurate with cost, risk, and other relevant considerations. Unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices deprive consumers of the benefits that transparent and efficient markets can deliver. The Bureau, through its enforcement of laws and regulations prohibiting such behavior, strives to rid markets of these impediments. It is important, therefore, that the policies, laws, and rules effectively target the problems they are intended to address. Every statutory or regulatory change creates at least some cost—and often considerable cost—as both consumers and industry adjust to new rules and bear the cost of change. For that reason, the Taskforce is most interested in learning where changes would be most worth the cost. In other words, the Taskforce hopes to hear from interested parties about the markets or services where a change in the rules would provide the greatest marginal benefits relative to the marginal costs.2 A. Expanding Access These questions explore potential obstacles to financial inclusion. 1. Millions of U.S. households lack a bank account.3 Should the Bureau 2 To the extent that a commenter’s response to any of the questions below overlaps with its responses to the Bureau’s Call for Evidence, the commenter may wish to incorporate by reference or elaborate on its prior submissions. See Bureau of Consumer Fin. Prot., Call for Evidence (Apr. 17, 2018), https://www.consumerfinance.gov/policycompliance/notice-opportunities-comment/archiveclosed/call-for-evidence/. 3 Bd. of Governors of the Fed. Reserve Sys., Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018–May 2019 (June 5, 2019), https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2018banking-and-credit.htm. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18215 promote greater access to banking services and, if so, how? Are alternatives to deposit accounts, such as prepaid cards and peer-to-peer electronic payments, sufficient when compared to traditional banking products? What is the evidence regarding consumers’ understanding of, and experience and satisfaction with, these products? 2. One important reason for access to a bank account is to facilitate transactions. To what extent is it necessary to tie transaction services to the banking system? To what extent could transaction services and the banking system exist independently, and would independent existence raise new consumer protection risks that regulators should consider? Would reducing clearance times impact the demand for alternative products, such as check cashing, small-dollar loans, and overdraft protection? If so, to what extent? 3. What steps could be taken to promote greater competition among providers of services such as payments, financial advisory services, and savings accounts? How do third-party applications, sometimes referred to as ‘‘open banking,’’ affect the competition? To what extent do third-party applications raise new consumer protection risks that regulators should consider? 4. There is consumer demand for short-term, small-dollar credit. What impediments exist for expanding access to short-term, small-dollar loans and ensuring that this market is fair, transparent, and competitive? What has been the impact of State and Federal efforts to regulate such credit? Is the annual percentage rate a meaningful measure for a very short-term loan? If not, what other measures might be more useful to help consumers in understanding and assessing the cost of short-term credit? 5. Some creditors are supplementing or replacing traditional methods of underwriting (which often use income, debts, credit history, and stability factors) by employing ‘‘alternative data.’’ Some types of alternative data clearly expand the sources of financial information, such as payment histories for rent, utilities, and other consumer obligations, and other types of alternative data appear to have little in common with traditional underwriting information. What role should the Bureau play in regulating the furnishing, reporting, and use of alternative data, and what should the Bureau consider in developing policy in this area? How should the Bureau consider alternative factors which E:\FR\FM\01APN1.SGM 01APN1 18216 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 63 / Wednesday, April 1, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES creditors find helpful in predicting risk, but which may lack an obvious relationship with creditworthiness or have differential impacts on some consumers or groups of consumers? 6. Should the Bureau clarify its position on disparate impact theory under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act? If so, what should be the Bureau’s position? B. Consumer Data These questions explore current and future-looking topics regarding the protection and use of consumer data. 7. Both the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its implementing Regulation V and the Gramm-LeachBliley Act and its implementing Regulation P contain important protections of consumers’ personal information. Are these protections sufficient? Why or why not? If not sufficient, what further protections should the Bureau or Congress consider? Are there obligations in these regulations or statutes that impose a burden not justified by the corresponding consumer benefit? 8. The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to ‘‘follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy’’; requires these agencies to disclose to a consumer the contents of the consumer’s file; contains procedures for consumers to dispute the accuracy of information in these agencies’ files; and requires notifications when information from these agencies’ files has contributed to a user’s adverse action. In addition, the FCRA’s implementing Regulation V requires that data furnishers implement and maintain reasonable written policies and procedures concerning the accuracy of the data they furnish. Are these provisions designed to ensure accuracy sufficient? Why or why not? If not, what further protections should the Bureau or Congress consider? Are there obligations in these laws that impose a burden not justified by the commensurate consumer benefit? 9. Most States have enacted laws that afford consumers certain protections in the event of a data breach. There is considerable variation among these laws, including the triggering events for coverage by the law and the requirements and remedies relating to a breach. Would Federal legislation, regulation, or guidance addressing data breaches be desirable? Why or why not? Would it be desirable to have a uniform national standard for data breach obligations? Why or why not? 10. Financial technology, or FinTech, companies often use consumer data to provide new or enhanced financial VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:31 Mar 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 products and services, but this can raise concerns about consumers’ ability to protect privacy and control the use of their data. With respect to consumer data, how best can the Bureau or Congress balance between facilitating FinTech innovations that increase consumer choice and ensuring consumer protection? Do any existing technologies or practices, such as zeroknowledge proofs, raise fewer consumer protection concerns or have the potential to help regulators resolve the balance between consumer choice and consumer protection? C. The Regulations These questions focus on the regulations the Bureau writes and enforces. Commenters are encouraged to include specific examples in their responses. 11. Are there gaps in consumer financial protections that should be filled by strengthening the Bureau’s regulations? What type of protections are needed (e.g., additional disclosures, substantive requirements)? How should the costs and benefits of the proposed changes be evaluated? 12. Uncertainty can increase compliance costs and litigation risk without benefitting consumers. Are there areas of significant ambiguity or inconsistency in the regulations? Where would regulations benefit significantly from increased clarity or harmonization—both with respect to the Bureau’s regulations and with respect to overlap, duplication, or inconsistency with regulations issued by other Federal agencies? Please explain the lack of clarity and how the regulations should be clarified. 13. Where have regulations failed to keep up with rapid changes in consumer financial services markets? Are regulatory changes needed to address new products and services and the way consumers obtain them? Are there regulations that have outlived their usefulness? Are there new regulations that might be needed? Are there regulatory areas or specific regulations now sufficiently so overlapping as to be redundant? 14. Some stakeholders favor regulations with specific requirements, which draw bright lines for a company’s compliance obligations but can apply a one-size-fit-all approach. Others favor ‘‘principle-based’’ regulations, which can provide a company with flexibility but can create compliance uncertainty. Federal regulations currently employ both approaches (e.g., Regulation Z’s highly specific disclosure rules, and Regulation V’s requirement that data furnishers implement and maintain PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 reasonable written policies and procedures concerning the accuracy of the data they furnish). Which approach is preferable, and does this depend on the industry, the statute, or other considerations? Please explain. D. Federal and State Coordination The Bureau is one of many Federal agencies with supervision or enforcement responsibilities with respect to financial institutions. Having more than one agency can increase the resources devoted to supervision and enforcement, but it can also increase the burden on the company (and costs to its customers) and may result in conflicting positions among governmental agencies. These questions focus on the costs and benefits of this overlap. 15. With respect to institutions and laws currently within the Bureau’s jurisdiction, the Bureau’s supervision or enforcement authority may be exclusive or shared with other regulators, depending on the institution or law in question. Have the agencies been cooperating appropriately in areas of shared jurisdiction, and are there ways in which their cooperation could be improved? Is more clarity needed about how the agencies are cooperating in areas of shared jurisdiction? Do the Bureau and other agencies act jointly in appropriate circumstances? 16. Are changes to the sharedjurisdiction framework desirable (e.g., by legislation)? In what way? For instance, would it be beneficial to assign to one agency sole (or primary) responsibility for supervising or enforcing some or all the consumer financial protection laws? Would having a single source of authority enhance or detract from competition and consumer welfare? What are the costs and benefits of overlapping enforcement jurisdiction for nonbank creditors? 17. State financial regulators typically examine a financial institution’s compliance with State law, but they can also bring cases under certain Federal consumer financial protection laws. For example, a State may initiate its own action to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act and certain enumerated consumer laws. In addition, once the Bureau has decided to bring an enforcement action, the Bureau may invite States to join in the action. What are the costs and benefits to consumers and financial institutions of overlapping enforcement powers? 18. Given the jurisdictional overlap between State and Federal regulators on consumer financial markets, are there quantifiable examples of whether this overlap has led to disproportionate compliance costs for small financial E:\FR\FM\01APN1.SGM 01APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 63 / Wednesday, April 1, 2020 / Notices institutions, such as community banks or credit unions? E. Improving Consumer Protection These questions address overall performance of consumer protection. 19. Which markets for consumer financial products or services are functioning well—that is, which markets are fair, transparent, and competitive? Which markets might benefit from regulatory changes that could facilitate competition and materially increase consumer welfare? 20. What types of disclosures regarding consumer financial products or services are effective and what types are not? Could the content, timing, or other aspects of disclosures be improved and, if so, how? 21. How should the Bureau determine an appropriate remedy for a law violation, considering the need to correct and deter violations without creating adverse effects on competition and other unintended consequences? 22. What is the optimal mix of regulation, enforcement, supervision, and consumer financial education for achieving the Bureau’s consumer protection goals? 23. How can we best assess the efficacy of the Federal consumer financial protections in achieving their goals? Dated: March 27, 2020. Kathleen L. Kraninger, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. [FR Doc. 2020–06749 Filed 3–31–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–AM–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Air Force Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Noise of Cancellation of Scoping Meetings for Proposed Mortar and Artillery Training at Richardson Training Area, Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson, AK Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense. ACTION: Amended Notice of Intent. AGENCY: The U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the U.S. Army, acting as a Cooperating Agency, are issuing this Amended Notice of Intent, updating the original notice published on March 16, 2020 (Federal Register, Vol. 85., No. 51, 14928) of their continuing intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the potential social, economic, and environmental jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:31 Mar 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 impacts associated with modifying the conditions under which indirect livefire weapons training can be conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), in order to meet Army training standards at home station. However, as a direct result of the National Emergency declared by the President on Friday, March 13, 2020, in response to the coronavirus (COVID–19) pandemic in the United States and the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for social distancing and avoiding large public gatherings, the Air Force is now canceling the two public scoping meetings between April 13, 2020 and April 14, 2020. In lieu of the public scoping meetings, the Air Force will use the alternative means set forth below to inform the public and stakeholders and to obtain input for scoping the proposed action. ADDRESSES: In lieu of scoping meetings, information on the proposal will be available on the project website at: https://JBER-PMART-EIS.com. For those who do not have ready access to a computer or the internet, the scopingrelated materials posted to the website will be made available upon request by mail. Inquiries, requests for scopingrelated materials, and comments regarding the Proposed Mortar and Artillery Training at Richardson Training Area Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson (JBER), AK may be submitted by mail to JBER Public Affairs, JBER.PA@US.AF.MIL, (907) 552–8151; (US Post Office) JBER Public Affairs c/o Matthew Beattie, 10480 Sijan Ave., Suite 123, Joint Base ElmendorfRichardson, AK 99506. Written scoping comments will be accepted at any time during the environmental impact analysis process up until the public release of the Draft EIS. However, to ensure the USAF has sufficient time to consider public input in the preparation of the Draft EIS, scoping comments should be submitted to the website or the address listed above by no later than May 11, 2020. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EIS will evaluate the potential impacts associated with the proposed action, which includes indirect live-fire training during all-seasons at Eagle River Flats (ERF) Impact Area on JBER, a military base in Alaska, in order to meet Army training standards. The proposed action also includes expansion of ERF impact area by approximately 585 acres. In addition, the EIS will evaluate an action alternative that would marginally meet Army training standards, and would not include expansion of the ERF impact PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18217 area. The no action alternative will also be evaluated in the EIS, under which the Army would continue to train with the existing seasonal restrictions and which would require JBER home station units to deploy to other Armycontrolled training lands to conduct required training. The USAF is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) lead agency and the U.S. Army is a cooperating agency for this EIS process. A Notice of Intent for a similar action was issued in 2007; however, this Notice of Intent supersedes the Notice of Intent that was issued in 2007. Additional review and consultation which will be incorporated into the preparation of the Draft EIS will include, but are not necessarily limited to consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The proposed actions at JBER have the potential to be located in a floodplain and/or wetland. Consistent with the requirements and objectives of Executive Order (E.O.) 11990, ‘‘Protection of Wetlands,’’ and E.O. 11988, ‘‘Floodplain Management,’’ state and federal regulatory agencies with special expertise in wetlands and floodplains will be contacted to request comment. Consistent with E.O. 11988 and E.O. 11990, this Notice of Intent initiates early public review of the proposed actions and alternatives, which have the potential to be located in a floodplain and/or wetland. Scoping and Agency Coordination: To define the full range of issues to be evaluated in the EIS, the USAF will determine the scope of the analysis by soliciting comments from interested local, state, and federal elected officials and agencies, Alaska Native organizations, as well as interested members of the public and others. This is being done by providing a website where the public can submit comments and/or by having comments mailed to the mailing address provided above. Adriane Paris, Acting Air Force Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2020–06741 Filed 3–31–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–10–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Air Force Notice of Availability of Software and Documentation for Licensing Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\01APN1.SGM 01APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 63 (Wednesday, April 1, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18214-18217]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-06749]


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BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION

[Docket No. CFPB-2020-0013]


Request For Information To Assist the Taskforce on Federal 
Consumer Financial Law

AGENCY: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

ACTION: Notice and request for information.

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SUMMARY: The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is 
seeking comments and information from interested parties to assist the 
Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law (Taskforce). The Taskforce 
is an independent body within the Bureau and reports to the Bureau's 
Director. The Taskforce is charged with developing recommendations on 
harmonizing, modernizing, and updating the Federal consumer financial 
laws, as well as identifying gaps in knowledge that should be addressed 
through research, ways to improve consumer understanding of markets and 
products, and potential conflicts or inconsistencies in existing 
regulations and guidance.

DATES: Comments must be received by June 1, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit responsive information and other comments, 
identified by Docket No. CFPB-2020-0013, by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: [email protected]. Include Docket No. 
CFPB-2020-0013 in the subject line of the message.
     Hand Delivery/Courier/Mail: Comment Intake, Bureau of 
Consumer Financial Protection, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.
    Instructions: The Bureau encourages the early submission of 
comments. All submissions must include the document title and docket 
number. Please note the number of the question on which you are 
commenting at the top of each response (you do not need to answer all 
questions). Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the 
Bureau is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit 
comments electronically. In general, all comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, 
comments will be available for public inspection and copying at 1700 G 
St. NW, Washington, DC 20552, on official business days between the 
hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern standard time. You can make an 
appointment to inspect the documents by telephoning 202-435-7275.
    All submissions in response to this request for information, 
including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part 
of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive 
personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security 
numbers, or names of other individuals, should not be included. 
Submissions will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact 
information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nat Weber, Chief of Staff, or Matt 
Cameron, Staff Director, Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, 
at 202-435-7700. If you require this document in an alternative 
electronic format, please contact [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    The Director of the Bureau established the Taskforce pursuant to 
the executive and administrative powers conferred on the Bureau by 
sections 1013(a) and 1021(c) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and 
Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The Taskforce is charged with 
(1) examining the existing legal and regulatory environment facing 
consumers and providers of consumer financial products and services; 
and (2) reporting its recommendations for ways to improve and 
strengthen Federal consumer financial laws, including recommendations 
for resolving conflicting requirements or inconsistencies, reducing 
unwarranted regulatory burdens in light of market or technological 
developments, improving consumer understanding of markets and products 
and services, and identifying gaps in knowledge that the Bureau should 
address through future research. Where possible and within time 
constraints, the Taskforce's report may include recommendations 
relating to the 18 enumerated consumer laws and titles X and XIV of the 
Dodd-Frank Act, including those provisions relating to unfair, 
deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The Taskforce's 
recommendations may include actions that the Bureau could carry out 
using its current authorities and actions that would require 
legislation to implement.
    The Taskforce is inspired in part by an earlier commission 
established in 1968 by the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Act). In 
addition to various changes to consumer law generally, the Act 
established a national commission to conduct original research and 
provide Congress with recommendations relating to the regulation of 
consumer

[[Page 18215]]

credit. The commission's report contained original empirical data, 
information, and analyses--all of which undergird the report's final 
recommendations. The data, findings, and recommendations from the 
commission were all made public and the report led to significant 
legislative and regulatory developments in consumer finance.

II. Requests for Information

    The Taskforce is considering what recommendations might promote the 
welfare of consumers in connection with the market for consumer 
financial products and services. The Taskforce seeks input from the 
public at this time to help identify areas of consumer protection on 
which it should focus its research and analysis during the balance of 
its one-year appointment. This Request for Information will be one of 
multiple opportunities for the public to provide feedback directly to 
the Taskforce and thus to help inform its recommendations.
    Congress created the Bureau to ensure that ``all consumers have 
access to markets for consumer financial products and services and that 
markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, 
transparent, and competitive.'' \1\ In general, consumers benefit from 
markets characterized by robust competition, which can offer attractive 
choices and fair prices. In addition, the terms of the services must be 
clear, so that consumers can make informed choices, and must be free of 
unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 12 U.S.C. 5511(a).
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    The Taskforce is seeking information from interested parties on 
which areas of the consumer financial services markets are functioning 
well--that is, which areas are fair, transparent, and competitive--and 
which might benefit from regulatory changes that could facilitate 
competition and materially increase consumer welfare. To that end, this 
Request for Information asks a series of questions about the market for 
consumer financial products and services, with a special interest in 
the below markets (though respondents should feel free to suggest 
others):
     Automobile financing (credit or lease)
     Credit cards
     Credit repair
     Consumer reporting
     Debt collection by third parties (collection agencies)
     Debt collection by creditors (in-house collections)
     Debt settlement
     Deposit accounts (checking or savings)
     Electronic payments
     Money transfers
     Mortgage origination and servicing
     Prepaid cards
     Small-dollar loans (installment, payday, vehicle title 
loans)
     Student loans and student loan servicing
    As articulated more specifically in the questions below, the 
Taskforce is interested in information about how well financial markets 
are functioning for consumers. Efficient markets offer consumers a wide 
selection of products and services that meet their financial needs at 
competitive prices. Consumers can capture those benefits when they have 
truthful information about the prices and features of the products and 
services they seek. By contrast, markets that perform poorly are less 
likely to deliver products and services or offer them at prices 
commensurate with cost, risk, and other relevant considerations. 
Unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices deprive consumers of 
the benefits that transparent and efficient markets can deliver. The 
Bureau, through its enforcement of laws and regulations prohibiting 
such behavior, strives to rid markets of these impediments. It is 
important, therefore, that the policies, laws, and rules effectively 
target the problems they are intended to address.
    Every statutory or regulatory change creates at least some cost--
and often considerable cost--as both consumers and industry adjust to 
new rules and bear the cost of change. For that reason, the Taskforce 
is most interested in learning where changes would be most worth the 
cost. In other words, the Taskforce hopes to hear from interested 
parties about the markets or services where a change in the rules would 
provide the greatest marginal benefits relative to the marginal 
costs.\2\
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    \2\ To the extent that a commenter's response to any of the 
questions below overlaps with its responses to the Bureau's Call for 
Evidence, the commenter may wish to incorporate by reference or 
elaborate on its prior submissions. See Bureau of Consumer Fin. 
Prot., Call for Evidence (Apr. 17, 2018), https://www.consumerfinance.gov/policy-compliance/notice-opportunities-comment/archive-closed/call-for-evidence/.
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A. Expanding Access

    These questions explore potential obstacles to financial inclusion.
    1. Millions of U.S. households lack a bank account.\3\ Should the 
Bureau promote greater access to banking services and, if so, how? Are 
alternatives to deposit accounts, such as prepaid cards and peer-to-
peer electronic payments, sufficient when compared to traditional 
banking products? What is the evidence regarding consumers' 
understanding of, and experience and satisfaction with, these products?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Bd. of Governors of the Fed. Reserve Sys., Report on the 
Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018-May 2019 (June 5, 
2019), https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2018-banking-and-credit.htm.
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    2. One important reason for access to a bank account is to 
facilitate transactions. To what extent is it necessary to tie 
transaction services to the banking system? To what extent could 
transaction services and the banking system exist independently, and 
would independent existence raise new consumer protection risks that 
regulators should consider? Would reducing clearance times impact the 
demand for alternative products, such as check cashing, small-dollar 
loans, and overdraft protection? If so, to what extent?
    3. What steps could be taken to promote greater competition among 
providers of services such as payments, financial advisory services, 
and savings accounts? How do third-party applications, sometimes 
referred to as ``open banking,'' affect the competition? To what extent 
do third-party applications raise new consumer protection risks that 
regulators should consider?
    4. There is consumer demand for short-term, small-dollar credit. 
What impediments exist for expanding access to short-term, small-dollar 
loans and ensuring that this market is fair, transparent, and 
competitive? What has been the impact of State and Federal efforts to 
regulate such credit? Is the annual percentage rate a meaningful 
measure for a very short-term loan? If not, what other measures might 
be more useful to help consumers in understanding and assessing the 
cost of short-term credit?
    5. Some creditors are supplementing or replacing traditional 
methods of underwriting (which often use income, debts, credit history, 
and stability factors) by employing ``alternative data.'' Some types of 
alternative data clearly expand the sources of financial information, 
such as payment histories for rent, utilities, and other consumer 
obligations, and other types of alternative data appear to have little 
in common with traditional underwriting information. What role should 
the Bureau play in regulating the furnishing, reporting, and use of 
alternative data, and what should the Bureau consider in developing 
policy in this area? How should the Bureau consider alternative factors 
which

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creditors find helpful in predicting risk, but which may lack an 
obvious relationship with creditworthiness or have differential impacts 
on some consumers or groups of consumers?
    6. Should the Bureau clarify its position on disparate impact 
theory under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act? If so, what should be 
the Bureau's position?

B. Consumer Data

    These questions explore current and future-looking topics regarding 
the protection and use of consumer data.
    7. Both the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its implementing 
Regulation V and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and its implementing 
Regulation P contain important protections of consumers' personal 
information. Are these protections sufficient? Why or why not? If not 
sufficient, what further protections should the Bureau or Congress 
consider? Are there obligations in these regulations or statutes that 
impose a burden not justified by the corresponding consumer benefit?
    8. The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to ``follow 
reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy''; 
requires these agencies to disclose to a consumer the contents of the 
consumer's file; contains procedures for consumers to dispute the 
accuracy of information in these agencies' files; and requires 
notifications when information from these agencies' files has 
contributed to a user's adverse action. In addition, the FCRA's 
implementing Regulation V requires that data furnishers implement and 
maintain reasonable written policies and procedures concerning the 
accuracy of the data they furnish. Are these provisions designed to 
ensure accuracy sufficient? Why or why not? If not, what further 
protections should the Bureau or Congress consider? Are there 
obligations in these laws that impose a burden not justified by the 
commensurate consumer benefit?
    9. Most States have enacted laws that afford consumers certain 
protections in the event of a data breach. There is considerable 
variation among these laws, including the triggering events for 
coverage by the law and the requirements and remedies relating to a 
breach. Would Federal legislation, regulation, or guidance addressing 
data breaches be desirable? Why or why not? Would it be desirable to 
have a uniform national standard for data breach obligations? Why or 
why not?
    10. Financial technology, or FinTech, companies often use consumer 
data to provide new or enhanced financial products and services, but 
this can raise concerns about consumers' ability to protect privacy and 
control the use of their data. With respect to consumer data, how best 
can the Bureau or Congress balance between facilitating FinTech 
innovations that increase consumer choice and ensuring consumer 
protection? Do any existing technologies or practices, such as zero-
knowledge proofs, raise fewer consumer protection concerns or have the 
potential to help regulators resolve the balance between consumer 
choice and consumer protection?

C. The Regulations

    These questions focus on the regulations the Bureau writes and 
enforces. Commenters are encouraged to include specific examples in 
their responses.
    11. Are there gaps in consumer financial protections that should be 
filled by strengthening the Bureau's regulations? What type of 
protections are needed (e.g., additional disclosures, substantive 
requirements)? How should the costs and benefits of the proposed 
changes be evaluated?
    12. Uncertainty can increase compliance costs and litigation risk 
without benefitting consumers. Are there areas of significant ambiguity 
or inconsistency in the regulations? Where would regulations benefit 
significantly from increased clarity or harmonization--both with 
respect to the Bureau's regulations and with respect to overlap, 
duplication, or inconsistency with regulations issued by other Federal 
agencies? Please explain the lack of clarity and how the regulations 
should be clarified.
    13. Where have regulations failed to keep up with rapid changes in 
consumer financial services markets? Are regulatory changes needed to 
address new products and services and the way consumers obtain them? 
Are there regulations that have outlived their usefulness? Are there 
new regulations that might be needed? Are there regulatory areas or 
specific regulations now sufficiently so overlapping as to be 
redundant?
    14. Some stakeholders favor regulations with specific requirements, 
which draw bright lines for a company's compliance obligations but can 
apply a one-size-fit-all approach. Others favor ``principle-based'' 
regulations, which can provide a company with flexibility but can 
create compliance uncertainty. Federal regulations currently employ 
both approaches (e.g., Regulation Z's highly specific disclosure rules, 
and Regulation V's requirement that data furnishers implement and 
maintain reasonable written policies and procedures concerning the 
accuracy of the data they furnish). Which approach is preferable, and 
does this depend on the industry, the statute, or other considerations? 
Please explain.

D. Federal and State Coordination

    The Bureau is one of many Federal agencies with supervision or 
enforcement responsibilities with respect to financial institutions. 
Having more than one agency can increase the resources devoted to 
supervision and enforcement, but it can also increase the burden on the 
company (and costs to its customers) and may result in conflicting 
positions among governmental agencies. These questions focus on the 
costs and benefits of this overlap.
    15. With respect to institutions and laws currently within the 
Bureau's jurisdiction, the Bureau's supervision or enforcement 
authority may be exclusive or shared with other regulators, depending 
on the institution or law in question. Have the agencies been 
cooperating appropriately in areas of shared jurisdiction, and are 
there ways in which their cooperation could be improved? Is more 
clarity needed about how the agencies are cooperating in areas of 
shared jurisdiction? Do the Bureau and other agencies act jointly in 
appropriate circumstances?
    16. Are changes to the shared-jurisdiction framework desirable 
(e.g., by legislation)? In what way? For instance, would it be 
beneficial to assign to one agency sole (or primary) responsibility for 
supervising or enforcing some or all the consumer financial protection 
laws? Would having a single source of authority enhance or detract from 
competition and consumer welfare? What are the costs and benefits of 
overlapping enforcement jurisdiction for nonbank creditors?
    17. State financial regulators typically examine a financial 
institution's compliance with State law, but they can also bring cases 
under certain Federal consumer financial protection laws. For example, 
a State may initiate its own action to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act and 
certain enumerated consumer laws. In addition, once the Bureau has 
decided to bring an enforcement action, the Bureau may invite States to 
join in the action. What are the costs and benefits to consumers and 
financial institutions of overlapping enforcement powers?
    18. Given the jurisdictional overlap between State and Federal 
regulators on consumer financial markets, are there quantifiable 
examples of whether this overlap has led to disproportionate compliance 
costs for small financial

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institutions, such as community banks or credit unions?

E. Improving Consumer Protection

    These questions address overall performance of consumer protection.
    19. Which markets for consumer financial products or services are 
functioning well--that is, which markets are fair, transparent, and 
competitive? Which markets might benefit from regulatory changes that 
could facilitate competition and materially increase consumer welfare?
    20. What types of disclosures regarding consumer financial products 
or services are effective and what types are not? Could the content, 
timing, or other aspects of disclosures be improved and, if so, how?
    21. How should the Bureau determine an appropriate remedy for a law 
violation, considering the need to correct and deter violations without 
creating adverse effects on competition and other unintended 
consequences?
    22. What is the optimal mix of regulation, enforcement, 
supervision, and consumer financial education for achieving the 
Bureau's consumer protection goals?
    23. How can we best assess the efficacy of the Federal consumer 
financial protections in achieving their goals?

    Dated: March 27, 2020.
Kathleen L. Kraninger,
Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
[FR Doc. 2020-06749 Filed 3-31-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P