CFPB’s Upcoming Debt Collection Proposed Rule: What to Expect on Timing

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) previously indicated in its Fall 2018 Rulemaking Agenda that it intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Spring of 2019 regarding debt-collection practices and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The regulatory agenda also suggests that the proposed rule may be released as soon as March 2019. We have previously written about the topics and issues the CFPB may address through this particular rulemaking.

While we wait for the long-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be released—hopefully any day now—we thought we would take a look at how the CFPB has handled prior significant rulemakings in terms of the length of comment periods, how long the CFPB contemplates comments before issuing final rules and how long the CFPB usually gives the industry to implement the applicable changes. To do that, we looked at applicable dates for the following rulemakings:

  • 2013 Mortgage Servicing Rules;
  • ECOA Valuations Rule;
  • LO Comp;
  • TRID;
  • ATR/QM;
  • Prepaid Cards; and
  • Payday Lending Rule.

For each of the above-referenced rulemakings, we gathered the following data points:

  • Date of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking;
  • Date Comments Due Regarding Notice of Proposed Rulemaking;
  • Date of Final Rule; and
  • Effective Date of Final Rule.

For simplicity, and in order to get a sense of what to expect when the debt collection Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is released, we did not consider any comment due dates or final rule effective dates that were subsequently extended for one reason or another. Instead, we relied upon the initial date selected by the CFPB. For example, TRID and the Prepaid Cards rule both had various effective date extensions. In those instances, our analysis only relied upon what the CFPB originally intended in terms of an implementation period.

Based upon this information, it appears that the CFPB typically gives around 54 days for the public to submit comments on its larger rulemakings. Once the comment period closes, it typically takes approximately nine and a half months for the CFPB to issue a final rule with an effective date almost 10 months later.

Based upon those historical figures alone, it appears likely that the CFPB will offer the public close to two months to consider and comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The final rule may then be issued approximately one year after the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is issued. It would also not be unusual for the CFPB to give the industry a significant implementation period. If the proposed rule is released at some point in March 2019, we likely are looking at an effective date for a final debt collection rule in early 2021.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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