Consumer bureau finalizes rule changes on handling of info requests

A final rule revising consumer financial protection bureau procedures for handling information requests from members of the public is set to take effect Oct. 12.

The final rule, issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as CFPB), is based on proposed rule changes issued in August 2016. Published in the Federal Register Wednesday, it addressees provisions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Privacy Act, and requests for bureau information in legal proceedings. The 2016 proposal also contemplated revisions for, but the final rule does not address, the confidential treatment of information obtained from persons in connection with the exercise of the bureau’s authorities under federal consumer financial law.

The final rule revises subparts A, B, C, and E of section 1070 of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

  • Subpart A: Revisions focus on the certification of authenticity of bureau records and the service of summonses or complaints on the bureau. Subpart A also contains definitions of terms used throughout the remainder of the part, and the final rule revises the definition of “Chief FOIA Officer” (to limit related delegation of authority).
  • Subpart B: This section implements FOIA. The bureau has revised this subpart to clarify its practices, provide additional flexibility for requesters, and reflect recent changes made to the FOIA by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-185). The changes also streamline the bureau’s process for assessing FOIA fees and notifying requesters of such fees. It made minor revisions to its proposal in response to comments.
  • Subpart C: Sometimes referred to as Touhy Regulations, this subpart sets forth procedures for requests for information from the bureau in connection with legal proceedings between others, and describes the bureau’s procedures for considering such requests or demands for official information. Organizational and clarifying revisions were adopted as proposed.
  • Subpart E: This subpart implements the Privacy Act of 1974. The Bureau has revised the subpart to clarify the Chief Privacy Officer’s authority, to provide additional flexibility for requestors, and to make technical corrections. Changes were adopted as proposed.

Final Rule: Disclosure of Records and Information