12 ‘RFIs’ close out with 792 comments received on ‘consumer complaint, inquiry handling processes’

The final of 12 “requests for information” (RFI) from the federal consumer financial protection agency generated 792 comments as of midnight Monday, contributing to a grand total of more than 88,000 comments submitted on the entire effort since it started at the beginning of the year.

The comments submitted for the latest RFI – one of a dozen on various issues sought by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB) Acting Director John “Mick” Mulvaney – focused on the agency’s consumer complaint and consumer inquiry handling processes. Mulvaney requested the RFI comments, he said in January, as a “call for evidence” to determine if the agency is fulfilling its job.

This final RFI – issued April 9 for a 90-day comment period — sought comments about potential changes that can be made to the agency’s consumer complaint and inquiry handling processes that establish reasonable procedures to provide timely responses to consumers and “centralize the collection of consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products or services.”

The comment call generated nearly 800 submissions as of midnight Monday, the close of the comment period, according to Regulations.gov, a web-based portal supporting the federal government’s rulemaking process. (The total is likely to be adjusted as the BCFP continues to sort through the submissions.)

In terms of volume, the final RFI generated the fourth-highest number of comments. However, those represented less than 1% (so far) of all of the comments submitted on all 12 of the RFIs (which totals 88,399).

The RFIs generating the three, highest number of comments addressed: the agency’s supervision programs (55,049, or 62.2% of all comments); the agency’s public reporting practices of consumer complaint information (23,362, or 26.4%); and agency use of civil investigative demands (CIDs) (8,023, or 9%).

So far, the agency has given little indication about how it will utilize the comments received on those or  the other RFIs it has received.

However, in June, the agency announced in a blog post that its consumer, bank and credit union advisory panels, which provide industry input and advice to agency, will be reconstituted to “new, smaller memberships.” The agency said the decision to do so was made in part in response to comments received on its RFI on bureau external engagements. The comment period on that topic closed May 29 after 90 days; 67 total comments were received, according to Regulations.gov.

That total represents 0.08% of all comments received by the agency from the 12 RFIs it issued.

Request for Information Regarding the Bureau’s Consumer Complaint and Consumer Inquiry Handling Processes