CFPB to create ‘compliance aids’ category of guidance materials

A policy statement explaining a new category being created for regulatory guidance materials – “compliance aids” – was approved by the director of the agency charged with consumer financial protection Jan. 10 and is set to become applicable Feb. 1.

These will not be rules but materials aimed at helping users understand how they can comply with rules and statutes, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains in its statement.

Slated for publication Monday in the Federal Register, the CFPB policy statement says materials categorized as compliance aids will be similar to previous compliance resources – some examples: small entity compliance guides, instructional guides for disclosure forms, executive summaries, summaries of regulation changes, fact sheets, flow charts, etc. The aids are designed “to accurately summarize and illustrate the underlying rules and statutes,” the statement notes. “Accordingly, when exercising its enforcement and supervisory discretion, the Bureau does not intend to sanction, or ask a court to sanction, entities that reasonably rely on Compliance Aids.”

The compliance aids are aimed at presenting regulatory and statutory requirements “in a manner that is useful for compliance professionals, other industry stakeholders, and the public,” it states, and may include practical suggestions for how to comply with various rules and statutes, though these may not cover all ways an institution may comply. It notes that a regulated entity “can make its own business decision regarding which method to use, and this may include a method that is not specifically addressed in a Compliance Aid.”

In a footnote, the bureau said this policy statement does not apply to materials not labeled “compliance aid” or to the use of outdated materials that have been withdrawn or superseded; it also does not change the status of materials issued prior to this statement. The bureau may, however, reissue “certain existing materials” as compliance aids if it’s in the public interest and “as Bureau resources permit.”

In related news, the bureau on Friday also released a new small entity compliance guide on mortgage rules; see story.

Policy Statement on Compliance Aids

RR: Bureau publishes HMDA small entity compliance guide reflecting recent changes to rules (Jan. 24, 2020)