Bureau promises more info about violations of law, specifics about supervision authority in future civil investigative demands (CIDs)

More information about potential violations of law, and specifics about business activities subject to supervision, will be included in future “civil investigative demands” (CIDs), the federal consumer financial protection agency said Tuesday.

In a release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it is changing its policies toward CIDs. (According to the American Bar Association, a CID is a subpoena-like tool often used by consumer protection offices that tends to be expansive, typically seeking specified documents.) The bureau said its policies are intended to assure that the CIDs “will provide more information about the potentially applicable provisions of law that may have been violated” and “also typically specify the business activities subject to the Bureau’s authority.”

“In investigations where determining the extent of the Bureau’s authority over the relevant activity is one of the significant purposes of the investigation, staff may specifically include that issue in the CID in the interests of further transparency,” the agency said.

CFPB also said its new policy takes into account recent court decisions about “notifications of purpose.” The agency said its new policy is consistent with a 2017 report by the agency’s Office of Inspector General, which the agency said emphasized the importance of updating its Office of Enforcement policies to reflect such developments.

The bureau also said its new policy is consistent with comments it received in response to last year’s series of “requests for Information” (RFIs), which included its use of CIDs in enforcement investigations. The agency received more than 8,000 comments to its RFI on CIDs, the third-highest number of comments on the 12 RFIs it issued (equal to about 9% of all RFI comments received). The majority of comments received during the RFI series last year were on the agency’s supervision program, with more than 55,000 comments received (62.2% of all comments).

CFPB Announces Policy Change Regarding Bureau Civil Investigative Demands