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Bureau announces steps to prevent consumer harm

The CFPB has announced three steps it is taking to advance its strategy for preventing consumer harm:

  • Implementing an advisory opinion program to provide clear guidance to assist companies in better understanding their legal and regulatory obligations through advisory opinions;
  • Amending and reissuing its responsible business conduct bulletin, which articulates that the Bureau intends to provide credit to entities for their responsible conduct based on its extent and significance; and
  • Engaging with Congress to advance proposed legislation that would authorize the Bureau to award whistleblowers who report violations of federal consumer financial law.

Under the advisory opinion program, parties will submit requests for an advisory opinion to the Bureau via its website. To increase transparency and to provide regulatory certainty to all regulated entities and other stakeholders, the Bureau will publish the responding advisory opinion in the Federal Register and on its website. The opinion will include an interpretation of the Bureau’s existing rules.

The revised responsible business conduct guidelines list four categories of responsible conduct -- self-assessing, self-reporting, remediation, and cooperation -- that can be considered with other factors in addressing violations of consumer financial law in supervisory and enforcement matters.

The proposed whistleblower provisions would provide incentives for employees to report wrongdoing to the Bureau that can assist in advancing enforcement cases, especially fair lending cases.

UPDATE: Responsible Business Conduct Bulletin 2020-01 was published at on 3/30/2020.

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