CFPB delays data collection in response to COVID-19

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has postponed data collections from financial institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumer watchdog announced today.

As consumers increasingly seek relief from their auto lenders, the pandemic is impacting the operations of lenders, which have moved quickly to respond to customers during this unprecedented time. According to a statement from CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, the bureau’s actions today are “temporary and targeted to support consumers by allowing financial companies to focus their resources on assisting consumers.”

According to the CFPB’s database, 25% of consumer complaints regarding vehicle loan and leases were filed during the last month as the novel coronavirus started to spread. Year to date, total consumer complaints on vehicle loans and leases clock in at 1,137.

The response from the bureau comes right on the deadline given by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), both ranking members of the Senate Banking Committee, for a response to their letter expressing concern for consumer financial health as levels of debt and delinquencies in the auto lending market return to crisis levels.

With data collections postponed, the bureau will not expect the reporting of “certain” information related to accounts under the Truth in Lending Act. Additionally, the bureau is delaying its survey of financial institutions that seeks information on the cost of compliance in connection with rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Moreover, the bureau is issuing policy statements indicating that it does not intend to cite in an examination or initiate an enforcement action against any financial institution for failure to submit information when required.

Still, the CFPB is emphasized that lenders should maintain records of the data required as the bureau will notify businesses “at a later date” when and how to submit the information required, the agency noted.

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