2/3/18 - A report Monday indicating that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pulling back from a "full-scale probe" of Equifax led to wide-ranging Democratic criticism of the CFPB and revived scrutiny of the credit bureaus.
But it is unclear whether the CFPB is abandoning its supervisory oversight of Equifax or just taking a back seat to the Federal Trade Commission as the latter investigates the credit bureau over its massive data breach last year.
On Monday, Reuters reported that acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or taken any sworn testimony from its executives. Reuters cited unnamed sources who said the CFPB rebuffed prudential banking regulators that had offered to help with on-site supervisory exams.
Yet the story appears more complicated than that. Last year, the FTC took the unusual step of announcing that it was taking the lead in investigating Equifax. Per a prior agreement between the two agencies, to avoid overlapping roles, only one of them is tasked with probing any of the credit reporting giants when it is suspected of potential wrongdoing.
2/1/18 - Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has stripped the agency's fair-lending office of enforcement powers in a sign that many consumer advocates see as trying to reduce oversight and penalties for firms that discriminate against borrowers.
The move appeared to be a demotion for the fair-lending division, which was previously an equal division alongside supervision and enforcement, and which is now part of the office that handles internal agency concerns about employees.
"The Fair Lending Office will continue to focus on advocacy, coordination, and education, while its current supervision and enforcement functions will remain in SEFL," Mulvaney wrote in a memo sent to staff on Tuesday, referring to the Office of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending. "I do not expect that staff will experience changes in employment status, but it is possible that some may experience changes in jobs and duties."
12/21/2017 - Recognizing the impending January 1, 2018 effective date of the Bureau’s amendments to Regulation C and the significant systems and operational challenges needed to adjust to the revised regulation, for HMDA data collected in 2018 and reported in 2019 the Bureau does not intend to require data resubmission unless data errors are material. Furthermore, the Bureau does not intend to assess penalties with respect to errors in data collected in 2018 and reported in 2019. Collection and submission of the 2018 HMDA data will provide financial institutions an opportunity to identify any gaps in their implementation of amended Regulation C and make improvements in their HMDA compliance management systems for future years. Any examinations of 2018 HMDA data will be diagnostic to help institutions identify compliance weaknesses and will credit good faith compliance efforts. The Bureau intends to engage in a rulemaking to reconsider various aspects of the 2015 HMDA Rule such as the institutional and transactional coverage tests and the rule’s discretionary data points.
For data collected in 2017, financial institutions will submit their reports in 2018 in accordance with the current Regulation C using the Bureau’s HMDA Platform.