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CFPB policy statement on 'compliance aids'

The CFPB has published [85 FR 4579] a policy statement announcing a new designation for certain Bureau guidance, known as "Compliance Aids," and to explain the legal status and role of guidance with that designation. The designation will be applicable beginning February 1, 2020.

Compliance aids will be similar to previous compliance resources from the Bureau, but will be designated as "Compliance Aids." Some current compliance resources may be so designated when they are updated or reissued. They are not to be considered "rules" under the Administrative Procedures Act. Instead, Compliance Aids present the requirements of existing rules and statutes in a manner that is useful for compliance professionals, other industry stakeholders, and the public. Compliance Aids may also include practical suggestions for how entities might choose to go about complying with those rules and statutes. But they may not address all situations. Where there are multiple methods of compliance that are permitted by the applicable rules and statutes, an entity can make its own business decision regarding which method to use, and this may include a method that is not specifically addressed in a Compliance Aid. Regulated entities are not required to comply with the Compliance Aids themselves. Regulated entities are only required to comply with the underlying rules and statutes.

When exercising its enforcement and supervisory discretion, the Bureau does not intend to sanction, or ask a court to sanction, entities that reasonably rely on Compliance Aids.

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