Bureau finalizes advisory opinions policy (summary published)

(Dec. 4, 2020) Credit unions, banks and other entities questioning whether to comply with regulatory requirements can submit a request to the CFPB to clear up any uncertainty, the agency said under a new policy finalized this week.

NASCUS has already outlined the new policy in a summary (available to members only).

“Regulatory certainty promotes compliance if the law applies and avoids unnecessary compliance costs if the law does not,” the CFPB said of its new policy in a release.

In June, the bureau unveiled a pilot program to allow entities to submit a request for clarity on its regulations “where uncertainty exists.” The “pilot advisory opinion” program (referred to as “AO”) reviewed the submissions, selected topics based on the program’s priorities, and then made responses available to the public. The program was proposed as a procedural rule with a request for comment.

Monday’s release by the bureau made the program permanent. Under the final policy, the bureau said, any person or entity can submit a request for an advisory opinion via email (to advisoryopinion@cfpb.gov). The bureau said it would review the submissions received, prioritize certain requests for response, and issue opinions with a description of the incoming request.

The bureau said it may also decide to issue advisory opinions on its own initiative, and that (to increase transparency), it would publish all advisory opinions in the Federal Register and on its website.

NASCUS summary: Advisory opinions policy (members only)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Finalizes Advisory Opinions Policy and Announces Two New Advisory Opinions