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CFPB Observer: Recent Developments from Dec. 1-5, 2014

CFPB Takes Action Against Debt-Settlement Firm

On Dec. 4, the CPFB entered a consent order with a debt-settlement firm to settle allegations that the firm charged consumers illegal upfront fees for debt-settlement services in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). According to the terms of the consent order, the firm will be required to pay a civil penalty of $69,075, a sum representing the amount of advance fees that the firm collected from consumers who did not have any debt settled. In addition, the firm will be prohibited from any future violations of the TSR.

CFPB Ombudsman Office Issues Annual Report

The CFPB’s Ombudsman’s Office recently issued its third annual report detailing the Ombudsman’s activities during fiscal year 2014. The Ombudsman informally assists in resolving process issues that regulated entities or consumers have with the CFPB. The report addressed various issues, including industry concern about overly broad examination requests and differences in language used in consent orders and the descriptions of those actions in the CFPB’s press releases. The report also identified issues raised in previous reports that the Ombudsman continues to examine, such as how the CFPB shares information about its activities and regulated entities’ experiences with the CFPB examination process. Finally, the CPFB will also be updating its website to improve the presentation and communication of regulatory guidance and other important information.

CFPB Releases Updated Rulemaking Agenda

The CFPB recently released an updated rulemaking agenda for fall 2014. The agenda details timetables for addressing rulemakings covering mortgages, prepaid cards, payday loans, debt collection, overdraft, and privacy disclosures. Note that the new agenda indicates that “pre-rule activities” for payday loan products, overdrafts and debt collection have been delayed to February 2015, July 2015 and April 2015, respectively.