Aaron Reiter By Aaron Reiter • December 6, 2017

Changes Within the CFPB - What Do They Mean for the Collections Industry?

There is a saying that purports to be an old Chinese proverb or curse — May you live in interesting times — and while the saying is not actually a Chinese proverb or curse, it is definitely true that these times are very interesting. 
When Richard Cordray resigned as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Nov. 24 — unimaginatively termed, "Black Friday" by pundits — it set off a series of events and developments that will likely reshape the regulation of the financial services industry for years to come. Much is still left to be decided, including who will run the CFPB until the president nominates a permanent director subject to confirmation by the Senate. 
While many in the ARM industry expect that a Republican-led CFPB will mean less regulation and enforcement, that may not be a good thing, in and of itself. A panel of lawyers (featured below), speaking about the impact of the changes at the CFPB during a recent webinar, which was sponsored by InterProse, said that other agencies, especially at the state level, will likely step up and fill the void:
"Don't ignore the states...there are a lot of aggressive attorneys general who have learned a lot from the CFPB. There is an army of people ready to take the CFPB's place."     
 -Joann Needleman, leader of the consumer financial services regulatory & 
compliance group at Clark Hill
Scott Wortman, Warshaw Burstein.jpgChristopher Willis, Ballard Spahr.jpgJoann Needleman, Clark Hill.jpg
The state of Pennsylvania, for example, has established its own version of the CFPB, and other states have ramped up their consumer protection initiatives in recent months. 
Should the CFPB decide to delay or postpone its issuance of a rule governing the debt collection industry, that means that the law of the land will continue to be the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The ARM industry has been forced to spend more time and resources on compliance-related issues as more focus has been placed on the industry by consumer complaints and regulatory actions at the state and federal level. That increased focus on compliance is as high as it has ever been for collection agencies. This is a good thing! Being more compliant is not something to step back from as it only helps the reputation and practices of the industry. You would not want to put that toothpaste back in the tube, even if you could. 
While these times are indeed interesting, as the old saying goes, that should not be viewed as a curse - especially for the debt recovery industry.