CFPB rescinds 7 temporary policy statements issued amid COVID-19 crisis; discontinues use of ‘supervisory recommendations’

Seven policy statements issued from late March to early June 2020 that provided temporary flexibilities to financial institutions in the areas of consumer mortgages, credit reporting, credit cards, and prepaid cards are rescinded as of April 1 (Thursday), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday.

The bureau also said it was rescinding its 2018 bulletin on supervisory communications and replacing it with a revised one describing its use of matters requiring attention (MRAs) “to effectively convey supervisory expectations.” That new bulletin, 2021-01, states that “effective immediately,” the bureau will no longer use “supervisory recommendations” in these communications.

“We are now over a year into the disruptive and deadly COVID-19 crisis. The virus has affected industry as well as consumers, but individuals and families have been hardest-hit by the pandemic’s health and economic impacts,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “Providing regulatory flexibility to companies should not come at the expense of consumers. Because many financial institutions have developed more robust remote capabilities and demonstrated improved operations, it is no longer prudent to maintain these flexibilities. The CFPB’s first priority, today and always, is protecting consumers from harm.”

The rescinded policy statements were issued between March 26 through June 3, 2020, and temporarily provided financial institutions with flexibilities regarding certain regulatory filings or compliance with consumer financial laws and regulations. The bureau said the rescissions “reflect the Bureau’s commitment to consumer protection, and the fact that financial institutions have had a year to adapt their operations to the difficulties posed by the pandemic.”

The bureau, in its release, included links to each policy statement rescission notice and the new MRA bulletin:

CFPB Rescinds Series Of Policy Statements To Ensure Industry Complies With Consumer Protection Laws