CFPB to Finance Companies: Pandemic Flexibility Is Over

Female client talking with financial advisor in bank.

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has told financial institutions that the pre-pandemic rules apply to them once again, rescinding more flexible policies the Trump administration had extended to the industry last year. 

The Trump policies, issued between March 26 and June 3, 2020, had given companies more leeway regarding regulatory filings and complying with consumer laws and regulations on mortgages, credit reporting, credit cards, and prepaid cards. For example, the CFPB had said during the pandemic that it would not punish creditors for taking longer to resolve billing errors than the law required, so long as the companies made a good-faith effort to act as quickly as possible. That policy was among seven the CFPB rescinded as of April 1.

The new tougher stance is consistent with the CFPB’s more aggressive posture toward the financial industry under the administration of President Joe Biden than during the business-friendly Trump years.

“Providing regulatory flexibility to companies should not come at the expense of consumers,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio in a statement. “Because many financial institutions have developed more robust remote capabilities and demonstrated improved operations, it is no longer prudent to maintain these flexibilities. The CFPB’s first priority, today and always, is protecting consumers from harm.”