The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued new rules and regulations over the past year on a broad variety of topics, expanding its interpretations regarding its scope and authority in areas such as mortgage servicing, fair debt collection, data collection, and a wide range of other topics. On January 26, 2022, the CFPB issued its latest request for public comment, relating broadly to fees imposed by providers of consumer financial products and services. The request seeks information from the public on “fees that are not subject to competitive processes.”
The CFPB expressed concern that “[e]xploitative junk fees charged by banks and non-bank financial institutions have become widespread, with the potential effect of shielding substantial portions of the true price of consumer financial products and services from competition.” In connection with its notice for public comment, the CFPB issued an accompanying announcement indicating its intent to “strengthen competition in consumer finance by using its authorities to reduce these kinds of junk fees.” The scope of the information request covers a wide range of financial services fees including fees on hotel bills, concert ticket purchases, bank fees such as minimum balance fees, NSF fees, overdraft fees, and late fees, as well as fees involved in mortgage origination and servicing. Read the full announcement here.
The broad scope of the CFPB’s inquiry could potentially impact many industry sectors and pose new areas for compliance and enforcement. It is unclear whether the CFPB could potentially impose private rights of action as well. MMM attorneys are working with clients to comment. Attorneys are also actively following the efforts of the CFPB and evolving regulatory and enforcement changes.
If you have any questions about this legal update, consumer financial protection regulations and compliance, or ways to avoid potential risks or fines, please reach out to Bonnie Hochman Rothell or Jessica Rodriguez, the authors of this update who handle a broad range of regulatory compliance matters within the CFPB, FDCPA, and TCPA. You may also contact your MMM attorney.