CFPB Issues Policy on Using ‘Compliance Aids’

January 28, 2020

In an effort to clarify the role of guidance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a statement in the Federal Register establishing outlining how regulated businesses may use new “Compliance Aids” issued by the bureau. The policy statement becomes applicable Feb. 1.

The policy statement indicates that the new “Compliance Aids” designation will be used for “materials that are like previous compliance resources.” Examples of previous compliance resources the bureau has released include small entity compliance guides, instructional guides for disclosure forms, executive summaries and summaries of regulation changes.

“Where there are multiple methods of compliance that are permitted by the applicable rules and statutes, an entity can make its own business decision regarding which method to use, and this may include a method that is not specifically addressed in a Compliance Aid,” the bureau said.

Summary of the Policy Statement:

  • The CFPB will not use Compliance Aids “to make decisions that bind regulated entities.”
  • Compliance Aids, “unlike the Bureau’s regulations and official interpretations,” are not “rules” under the Administrative Procedure Act.  The three main categories of CFPB rules are substantive, interpretive and general statements of policy.
  • Compliance Aids are intended to provide assistance to compliance professionals and others in understanding existing legal requirements (statutes and regulations) and may include suggestions for how to comply with such requirements.
  • Regulated entities are not required to comply with the Compliance Aids themselves, only with the underlying statutes and regulations.
  • When exercising its enforcement and supervisory discretion, the bureau will not sanction, or ask a court to sanction, entities that reasonably rely on Compliance Aids.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].