‘Enforcement processes’ RFI generates 400 letters as comment period closes

At least 400 comment letters had been posted by Monday’s deadline for the third “request for information” (RFI) issued by the federal consumer financial protection agency on its “enforcement processes.”

Of those, the overwhelming majority were submitted by ordinary citizens; letters from organizations – including advocacy groups, law firms, financial institutions and others – made up less than 3% of the letters posted. However, more letters are expected to be posted within the coming days (Monday, May 14, was the deadline).

The third RFI from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB), issued Feb. 7, focused on the agency’s enforcement processes, in particular to “help assess the overall efficiency and effectiveness of its processes related to the enforcement of federal consumer financial law.” The RFI was initially issued with a 60-day comment period, which was later extended to 90 days.

In particular, BCFP said when it issued the “enforcement processes” RFI, it sought specific suggestions about any potential updates or changes to its enforcement processes and including (with details) the potential update or modification, supporting data or other information on effects and costs, or information concerning alignment with the processes of other agencies.

The bureau also said it was additionally looking for “specific identification of any aspects” of its enforcement processes that should not be modified, likewise including supporting data on effects and costs

The RFIs were initiated Jan. 24 by Acting Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney, who said then that the effort was intended to gather “evidence” of the agency’s functions in performing its role, to give the public an opportunity to provide feedback and suggest ways to “improve outcomes for both consumers and covered entities.” Ultimately, the bureau issued 12 RFIs.

To date, the 400 letters submitted on this RFI subject represents the second-most number of letters on an individual RFI generated so far. The first RFI, on Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) (comments due April 26), elicited 2,401 letters (or more than three in every four of all letters received, so far, on the information requests).

All told, at least 3,127 letters have been submitted on all 12 RFIs. By contrast, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed rule on “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation: Rescission or Revision of Certain Requirements,” which closed for comments in late April (after a 60-day comment period) generated nearly 408,000 comment letters – at that time the most comments received so far this year on a federal action.

The comments-due date for BCFP’s final RFI (which is on the agency’s consumer complaint and consumer inquiry handling processes) is July 16.