CFPB Proposes Trial Consumer Disclosure Program

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On December 13, as part of its Project Catalyst, the CFPB proposed a new policy that will allow financial institutions to conduct trial consumer disclosure programs. Participating firms would receive time-limited exemptions from federal disclosure laws in exchange for sharing with the CFPB the results of their trial disclosures. According to the proposed policy, firms seeking to participate in the program will need to submit to the CFPB information about the proposed disclosure program, including (i) the type of disclosure and laws to be waived in connection with the program, (ii) the proposed changes, expected improvements from the changes, and metrics for evaluating the improvements, (iii) the duration of the test and the size, location, and nature of the consumer population involved in the test, and (iv) the names and planned roles of any third-party vendors. In considering proposed trial disclosures, the CFPB will evaluate, among other factors, (i) how effectively and efficiently the proposed trial will test for potential improvements to consumer understanding about the costs, benefits, and risks of products and services, (ii) how the proposed trial will help develop more cost-effective disclosure rules or policies, (iii) the extent to which the program is designed to mitigate any risk to consumers, (iv) the extent to which the program may help the CFPB develop rules or policies to correct or mitigate market failure, and (v) the strength of the company’s compliance management system relative to the size, nature, and complexity of the company’s consumer business. The proposal is subject to a 60-day notice and comment period, which begins once the proposal is published in the Federal Register.