CFPB Proposes 60-Day Extension of Effective Date of New FDCPA Regulations
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) has proposed and invited comment on a 60-day postponement of the effective date of recently finalized amendments to Regulation F, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The proposed rule, recently published in the Federal Register, would extend until January 29, 2022 the effective date of two final rules adopted at the end of 2020 that currently will become effective on November 30, 2021. The stated rationale for the extension is to provide the industry with additional time, in light of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, to implement the changes necessary to comply with the new amendments. The proposed extension would not prevent industry participants from voluntarily complying with the revised Regulation F ahead of any new effective date.
The final rules, which were proposed in 2019 and 2020 and finalized in October and December of last year, deal broadly with the manner and content of a debt collector’s communications with consumers. The rules also provide various safe harbors and presumptions of compliance for debt collectors that adhere to certain specified requirements. The CFPB’s current proposal, in addition to requesting comment on the appropriateness of the 60-day extension, notes that these safe harbors and presumptions would also be delayed until the new effective date and solicits feedback on whether such industry protections should be allowed to become effective as of the original November 30, 2021 date.
While the proposed rule does not include other substantive changes to Regulation F, we would not be surprised to see additional changes proposed in the future. The CFPB has been reviewing the rules, policies, and guidance promulgated during the previous four years to ensure they are consistent with the priorities of the current administration. Further, the current rulemaking offers an opportunity for consumer protection advocates to suggest substantive modifications, even if they go beyond the specific scope of this request for comment. To the extent there are perceived opportunities to strengthen the consumer protections afforded by the revised Regulation F, the CFPB could use the additional time to assess and potentially propose such changes in the future.
Comments on the proposed rule are due no later than May 19, 2021. Institutions seeking advice on any proposed comment or wishing to learn more about the recent amendments to Regulation F are encouraged to reach out to any of the authors of this advisory or their usual Arnold & Porter contact.
© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2021 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.