As COVID-19 vaccines roll out and people return to their pre-pandemic work schedules, the obligations of compliance officers may also be returning to “normal” as some of the crisis-related flexibilities are reversed. Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced it was rescinding several statements regarding COVID-19 regulatory flexibility provided last spring. In his statement, Acting Director Uejio stated, “[b]ecause many financial institutions have developed more robust remote capabilities and demonstrated improved operations, it is no longer prudent to maintain these flexibilities.” The rescission notices issued by the bureau all contain guidance on how affected financial institutions can comply with regulatory requirements now that the CFPB will no longer recognize the flexibilities provided last year. Below is a short summary for each of the statements, all rescinded as of April 1, 2021:
Statement on Bureau Supervisory and Enforcement Response to COVID-19 Pandemic – Last year, the bureau stated it would consider pandemic-related staffing and other resource challenges faced by financial institutions in deciding to bring supervisory or enforcement action. The bureau also expressed efforts to consider a financial institution’s good faith efforts to comply with regulations and assist members. The bureau now finds that financial institutions have adjusted and modified their operations to deal with pandemic-related concerns and should now be supervised in accordance with the CFPB’s usual processes.
Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding Quarterly Reporting Under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act – In March 2020, the CFPB released a notice stating it would not issue an exam finding or bring enforcement action against financial institutions that fail to file quarterly HMDA data. The bureau states that institutions have had enough time to adjust and are now in a better position to continue daily operations while fulfilling reporting obligations under HMDA.
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