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CFPB clarifies stance on 'abusiveness' standard

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a policy statement Friday providing a common-sense framework on how it intends to apply the "abusiveness" standard in supervision and enforcement matters. Commencing immediately, the Bureau intends to apply the following principles during supervision and enforcement work by:

  • Focusing on citing or challenging conduct as abusive in supervision and enforcement matters only when the harm to consumers outweighs the benefit
  • Generally avoiding "dual pleading" of abusiveness and unfairness or deception violations arising from all or nearly all the same facts, and alleging "stand alone" abusiveness violations that demonstrate clearly the nexus between cited facts and the Bureau’s legal analysis
  • Seeking monetary relief for abusiveness only when there has been a lack of a good-faith effort to comply with the law, except the Bureau will continue to seek restitution for injured consumers regardless of whether a company acted in good faith or bad faith
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