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Have You Heard … CFPB Seeks Comment on State Official Notification Rules

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has invited the general public and other federal agencies to comment on a proposed information collection contained in the State Official Notification Rules (found at 12 CFR Part 1082).

Section 1042 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Act) required the CFPB to prescribe rules establishing procedures that govern the process by which state officials notify the CFPB of actions or proceedings undertaken pursuant to the authority granted in Section 1042(a) to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act or regulations prescribed thereunder.

In accordance with the requirements of the Act, the CFPB proposed an interim final rule establishing that every State attorney general and State regulator must provide notice to the Division of Enforcement of the CFPB at least 10 days before the filing of any action (with certain exceptions) against any covered person to enforce any provision of the Act. The notice must be sent by electronic mail to the Division of Enforcement of the CFPB, and a copy of the notice must be sent by mail or electronic mail to the prudential regulator.

The notice must include a written description of the anticipated action or proceeding, including the following:

(i) The court or body in which the action or proceeding is to be initiated;

(ii) The identity of the parties to the action or proceeding;

(iii) The nature of the action or proceeding to be initiated;

(iv) The anticipated date of initiating the action or proceeding;

(v) The alleged facts underlying the action or proceeding;

(vi) A contact name, electronic mail address, and phone number of an individual involved with the matter in the office of the State Official with whom the CFPB may consult; and

(vii) A determination as to whether there may be a need to coordinate the prosecution of the action or proceeding so as not to interfere with any action, including any rulemaking, undertaken by the CFPB, a prudential regulator, or another Federal agency.

If notice is provided after the State attorney general or regulator initiates the proceeding, then information about the action must be provided, along with the documents filed to initiate the proceeding.

The interim final rule grants the CFPB the right to intervene in the action as a party.

Unless used as part of a legal proceeding in which the CFPB is engaged, it is not expected that the information will be shared with the public, unless the information is already made public by the state official providing the notice. The information provided in the notice will be used by the CFPB (and prudential regulators, where relevant) to stay informed about the enforcement activities of state officials enforcing the Act and to decide when and how, if at all, to react to such activities.

The CFBP seeks comments following topics related to the State Official Notification Rules:

  • Whether the collection of information associated with the State Official Notification Rules is necessary for the proper performance of the Bureau, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • the accuracy of the estimate of the burden of the information collection (30 minutes);
  • ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Written comments are due by January 20, 2012.

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