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CFPB Requesting More Information Regarding Its Debt Collection Rulemaking

posted on 2015-10-19 by By Ethan G. Ostroff, David N. Anthony and Keith J. Barnett

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent a questionnaire with almost 60 questions to randomly selected debt collectors and service providers as part of its potential rulemaking regarding debt collection, a process that began almost two years ago.   

The CFPB received 23,000 comments in response to its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for debt collectors, which included 162 questions.  According to the CFPB, this new “survey is being conducted in order to build the [CFPB’s] knowledge of the operational costs of collecting debt that is in default” and the answers provided to the questions are intended to “help the CFPB better understand the burden of potential regulations affecting the debt collection industry.” 

This questionnaire was sent with a cover letter from John McNamara, the Debt Collections Program Manager in the CFPB’s Division of Research Markets & Regulations.  In it, the CFPB explains it “will be gathering information from a variety of debt collection firms, creditors, and service providers” that will “inform the Bureaus’ analysis of the benefits and costs of potential new rules relative to debt collection.”   

The questionnaire asks about basic activities and operational costs of collecting debt, including, for example, questions about vendors used for activities such as dialers or print mailings, maintaining data about consumer accounts, and furnishing information to credit bureaus.  The CFPB also stated that it plans to conduct “follow-up phone interviews” with some of the companies that respond to the survey “to help us understand their operations in more detail.”