While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was one of the busiest regulators in 2013, writing new rules and launching enforcement actions against financial institutions, many of these actions simply set the scene for an even more active 2014.
A key area for CFPB action involves the new mortgage rules, which take effect starting Jan. 10 and are required by the Dodd-Frank Act. They have been repeatedly amended to help ease the regulatory burden on small banks that have threatened to pull back from the mortgage market.
The CFPB also will address payday and online lenders, as well as prepaid cards, now that the new mortgage rules are completed. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have already finalized guidance on certain deposit-advance products; but any rules that the CFPB writes would apply to all lenders, including storefront payday lenders and online lenders.
The CFPB also is expected to write new rules and launch new enforcement actions against debt collectors, with a focus on questionable practices that the middlemen use to harass consumers for money they either do not owe or for which data is inaccurate. The agency also will look at indirect auto lenders -- particularly those partnering with dealers that are compensated based on the interest rate of the loan. Early last year, the CFPB warned that such practices are at risk of violations -- such as charging minorities higher rates, even unintentionally.