• Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Issues Interim Final Rules on 12/16/11 Transferring Certain Regulations from the Federal Trade Commission, as Required by Dodd-Frank
  • January 4, 2012 | Author: Edmund "Ed" D. Harllee
  • Law Firm: Williams Mullen - Tysons Corner Office
  • On Friday, December 16, 2011, the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “Bureau”) issued interim final rules and a request for public comment in connection with the transfer of several existing regulations from the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) to the Bureau.  The interim final rules are effective December 30, 2011.  Comments must be received by February 14, 2012.

    Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”) transferred rulemaking authority for several consumer protection laws to the Bureau.  The Bureau is currently in the process of republishing these transferred regulations to implement the transfer and to make such substantive changes to the existing regulations as may be required by the Act.

    The notices published in the Federal Register of December 16, 2011 concern the following current FTC regulations:

    • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  (Formerly the FTC’s rule found at 16 CFR Part 901).  Previously, the FTC had authority under this statute to exempt from the requirements of the statute certain classes of debt collection practices of a state, if the state applied to the FTC for an exemption.  This authority has now been transferred to the Bureau and is being republished as the Bureau’s Regulation F (12 CFR Part 1006).  
    • Disclosure Requirements for Depository Institutions Lacking Federal Deposit Insurance.  (Formerly the FTC’s rule found at 16 CFR Part 320).  This rule requires the disclosure of certain insurance-related information to the public and requires a written acknowledgment from depositors of such institutions regarding the lack of Federal deposit insurance.  Rulemaking authority for this law has now been transferred to the Bureau and is being republished as the Bureau’s Regulation I (12 CFR Part 1009).  
    • Mortgage Advertising.  (Formerly the FTC’s rule found at 16 CFR Part 321).  This rule generally prohibits any material misrepresentation in any advertisement or other “commercial communication” regarding any mortgage loan product.  Rulemaking authority for this law has now been transferred to the Bureau and is being republished as the Bureau’s Regulation N (12 CFR Part 1014).
    • Mortgage Assistance Relief Services.  (Formerly the FTC’s rule found at 16 CFR Part 322).  This rule generally regulates the activities of any person providing, or offering to provide, or arranging for others to provide, any mortgage assistance relief service.  Rulemaking authority for this law has now been transferred to the Bureau and is being republished as the Bureau’s Regulation O (12 CFR Part 1015).

    None of the above interim rules imposes any additional substantive regulatory requirements on persons subject to the existing FTC rules.

    Those engaged in the above commercial practices who are regulated by the FTC (and now the Bureau) and other interested persons may comment, and should do so if they think that these interim rules, or the specifics of the implementation of these interim rules as published in the notice, will have an adverse effect on their businesses.  According to the notices of proposed rulemaking, there are various methods for the submission of comments, including e-mail, hand delivery and US Mail.  Please see the appropriate notice in the Federal Register for this information.  Those commenting should reference Docket No. CFPB-2011-0022 or RIN 3170-AA06 (for Regulation F); Docket No. CFPB-2011-0024 or RIN 3170-AA06 (for Regulation I); and Docket No. CFPB-2011-0027 or RIN 3170-AA06 (for Regulations N and O).