CFPB News This Week

Biden Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Fifth Circuit’s CFPB Ruling

The Biden Administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision that found that the CFPB’s funding scheme was unconstitutional.

Inside the Petition
“The CFPB’s critical work administering and enforcing consumer financial protection laws will be frustrated,” the administration wrote. “And because the decision below vacates a past agency action based on the purported Appropriations Clause violation, the decision threatens the validity of all past CFPB actions as well.”

Other federal agencies are funded outside the annual appropriations process, according to the administration. “The court of appeals’ novel and ill-defined limits on Congress’s spending authority contradict the Constitution’s text, historical practice, and this Court’s precedent,” the petition states.

Further, administration officials added, “The CFPB’s funding mechanism is entirely consistent with the text of the Appropriations Clause, with longstanding practice, and with this Court’s precedent.”

Additional Support for the CFPB
Biden Administration officials not the only ones blasting the Fifth Circuit and its ruling. During a Senate Banking Committee hearing featuring banking regulators, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called the Fifth Circuit “the Republicans’ go-to court.” Warren, who is credited with developing the idea of the consumer bureau, said that Congress created independent funding structures for bank regulators to insulate them from political pressure.

Under questioning by Warren, each of the banking regulators—including NCUA Chairman Todd Harper—acknowledged that their agencies are funded outside the appropriations process. The NCUA, for instance, is funded by fees paid by credit unions. READ MORE

The CFPB Finalizes Rule to Increase Transparency Regarding Key Nonbank Supervision Tool

Today, we finalized changes to our nonbank supervision procedural rule. The changes will provide transparency to the public about how we are using an important supervisory tool to keep pace with fast-moving consumer finance markets.

Based on public comments, in this final version of the procedures, we are clarifying the standard we will apply to decide what information is appropriate for public release. We are also extending the amount of time that is available to the nonbank entity to provide us with input about what information we should release.

Agility in Nonbank Supervision

The Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) enables the CFPB to supervise a nonbank covered entity that we have reasonable cause to determine is engaging, or has engaged, in conduct that poses risks to consumers with regard to consumer financial products or services.

This statutory authority gives the CFPB’s supervision program the ability to move as quickly as the marketplace. For instance, fast-growing companies in nontraditional areas of the consumer finance market may be engaged in novel activities that warrant supervisory attention. There can also be supervisory gaps in more traditional areas of the market that ought to be filled. Through the supervisory process, CFPB examiners can work with the company in question to fully understand and manage its risks.

When we make a determination that supervision is warranted, our focus is on identifying risks to consumers, preferably before they manifest in violations of law or consumer harm. READ MORE

CFPB Reports Highlight Problems with Tenant Background Checks

Errors and false information in tenant background checks raise costs and barriers to quality rental housing.

CFPB issued two reports on the tenant background check industry. The reports describe how errors in these background checks contribute to higher costs and barriers to quality rental housing. Too often, these background checks – which purport to contain valuable tenant background information – are filled with largely unvalidated information of uncertain accuracy or predictive value. While renters bear the costs of errors and false information in these reports, they have few avenues to make tenant screening companies fix their sloppy procedures. The CFPB’s analysis of more than 24,000 complaints highlighted the renter challenges associated with the industry’s failures to remove wrong, old, or misleading information and to provide adequate investigations of disputed information.

The tenant background check industry creates reports that include extensive personal information, such as credit history, civil and criminal records, and credit scores, as well as the proprietary risk scores on which many landlords and property management companies base their decision to rent to a prospective tenant. The CFPB’s report on the state of the tenant screening market is an analysis of industry research, legal cases, academic research, the CFPB’s market monitoring, and other third-party sources. The CFPB’s consumer snapshot analyzes more than 24,000 complaints and results from focus groups with 44 renters.

Both reports reveal that people are denied rental housing because negative information is reported that belongs to someone else; outdated information remains on reports; and inaccurate or misleading details about arrests, criminal records, and eviction records are not corrected nor removed from reports. The consumer snapshot reveals that renters submitted more than 16,000 complaints about incorrect information on their reports and another 4,500 complaints about obstacles faced trying to get companies to fix their errors. READ MORE

CFPB Takes Action Against Carrington Mortgage for Cheating Homeowners out of CARES Act Rights

Company wrongly charged fees and inaccurately reported homeowner credit information despite pandemic-era housing protections.

The CFPB investigated Carrington and found they violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act when they misrepresented the requirements of the CARES Act and related federal agency guidelines. The company misrepresented to borrowers that they could not have 180 days of forbearance upon request and that certain borrowers could not have forbearance at all. Carrington also implied that homeowners had to make more detailed attestations than were actually required by law, and the company imposed late fees when they were not permitted.

Specifically, the CFPB found that Carrington:

  • Wrongly charged late fees: Carrington deceived certain borrowers, stating they were required to pay late charges they did not owe while their accounts were in forbearance. Carrington also falsely told borrowers in forbearance that they would “be assessed” or had “been assessed” late charges. In some cases, Carrington did wrongfully charge late fees.
  • Repeatedly provided false information about pandemic protections: Carrington told certain homeowners that they were required to remit their monthly payments “immediately” and could be facing foreclosure proceedings if they did not do so. In fact, no payment was required nor could the homeowners face foreclosure proceedings. The company also misrepresented to homeowners that they needed to provide specific reasons in order to obtain a forbearance when they only needed to attest to financial hardship during the pandemic. Carrington also told homeowners that to get a forbearance of more than 90 days, they had to make another request after the first 90 days.
  • Botched homeowners’ credit reports: Carrington illegally furnished information to consumer reporting companies that certain borrowers’ accounts were delinquent, rather than current, even though the homeowners’ accounts were current entering forbearance. Carrington also inaccurately furnished reports on the delinquency of certain homeowners in forbearance who were delinquent at the time they entered forbearance. Carrington failed to promptly notify the big three credit reporting companies about the errors.