In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Request for Information (RFI), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) has submitted comments to the CFPB on the Bureau’s “overall efficiency and effectiveness of its rulemaking processes.” In its June 7, 2018, comment letter, the ICBA stresses the restrictive impact of existing federal laws and regulations on the Bureau’s rulemaking authority. Accordingly, the ICBA makes recommendations for the Bureau’s improvement in the agency’s adherence to specified requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), and Dodd-Frank Act. Further, the ICBA urges the Bureau to exercise its exemption authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to “tailor regulations to exempt community banks from any final rule that hampers community banks’ ability to provide financial services and products to their customers.”
In March 2018, the CFPB announced that it was seeking input on the efficiency and effectiveness of the “discretionary aspects” of its rulemaking processes. The pertinent RFI asked for input on both the positive and negative aspects of the Bureau’s rulemaking processes as well as specific suggestions regarding those processes.
ICBA recommendations. Among other things, the ICBA’s comment letter, authored by ICBA Assistant Vice President and Regulatory Counsel Rhonda Thomas-Whitley, recommends that the Bureau improve its rulemaking processes by:
- allowing additional time for “small entity representatives” to review SBREFA meeting materials and prepare for a SBREFA panel, while also allowing Bureau staff time to “obtain appropriate knowledge” on the topic;
- ensuring that any final SBREFA report include justifications for any feedback that will not be considered or reflected in a proposed rule;
- ensuring feedback received from small entity representatives is reflected in proposed and final rules;
- streamlining the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by providing a concise list of areas in which the Bureau seeks comments;
- adding a table of contents to the NPRM;
- establishing longer comment periods for proposed rules that do not have a statutory deadline;
- responding in a timely fashion to a stakeholder's request to extend a comment period;
- streamlining the number of pages in a final rule by “limiting content to the summary, background, section-by-section analysis, and legal authority;”
- adding a table of contents to a final rule that includes links to sections and documents;
- including a separate “red-lined final rule” to allow for the speedy identification of changes to existing regulations;
- simultaneously releasing all implementation and supporting materials with a final rule;
- responding promptly to stakeholder requests to extend compliance deadlines—rather than “delaying a decision to a few days before the deadline;”
- working with other prudential regulators to facilitate release of examination procedures “six to nine months before a final rule’s effective date;” and
- using its Dodd-Frank exemption authority to exempt community banks from final rules that hamper the banks from providing financial products and services to customers.
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