Banking Association Speaks Against CFPB Data, Complaint Collection Clearance

The American Bankers Association has spoken against clearance for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s information and complaint collection practices under the Paperwork Reduction Act, as the association voiced concerns through a letter to the CFPB this week. 

The ABA has urged the agency to withdraw its request for generic clearance to collect information and complaints citing “substantial policy issues,” that should require an opportunity for public comment, the association writes. 

“We understand that compliance with the PRA process adds additional challenge to this process,” ABA said, “but we believe that the substantive and policy issues presented mandate a level of public engagement and accountability not available pursuant to a generic clearance process.”

The CFPB has recently launched a consumer complaint database covering mortgage complaints, under which it counts nearly 200,000 unverified complaints. Its data collection practices have been criticized widely among both businesses as well as lawmakers. 

“At a time when the Bureau’s data collection and privacy protection practices are under increased public and Congressional scrutiny, the Bureau’s approach to this consumer complaint information collection appears to be dismissively cavalier,” ABA writes. 

The agency should not be granted generic clearance, but should go through a public comment process, ABA urges. 

“The Paperwork Reduction Act requires agencies’ data and information collections to go through a clearance process with the Office of Management and Budget in order to protect businesses and customers from undue regulatory burden,” the ABA explains. “The CFPB sought a generic clearance for “information collections” — intake forms, questionnaires and other documents — related to its consumer complaint system.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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