Executives from more than 20 banks have met privately with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ease tensions and convey their concerns about the agency's approach to its investigations. The agency recently published "responsible conduct" guidelines for financial firms to help them better cooperate with CFPB investigations, which could lead to smaller penalties. As the agency reaches its two-year anniversary, the CFPB is working to counter persistent criticism that it is insensitive to companies' concerns, while at the same time demonstrate it is a tough and effective consumer regulator. The agency has adopted a more aggressive approach to regulation than other agencies, regularly bringing enforcement lawyers to exams, rotating lead bank examiners to prevent potential conflicts of interest, and requesting large amounts of data. The CFPB's inspector general is examining the practice of bringing enforcement lawyers to exams after complaints from financial firms, while the Chamber of Commerce continues to question the legality of the agency's push to collect data from firms. The CFPB has said any information collected from banks is protected and does not include identifiable information, such as names or Social Security numbers.
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