July 28, 2016

ABA and CBA seek revisions to generic clearance process

From: Ballard Spahr | CFPB Monitor

The American Bankers Association and the Consumer Bankers Association (the Associations) have sent a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) (part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)) urging OIRA to update its existing guidance on information collections to ensure that the CFPB or other agencies do not improperly use the generic clearance process.

In May 2016, the ABA sent a comment letter to the CFPB challenging its use of the generic clearance process to conduct research in connection with its overdraft rulemaking.  The ABA’s letter was submitted in response to the CFPB’s March 2016 request to OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 for re-approval of an existing generic clearance “to collect quantitative data on effective strategies and consumer experiences….” (Qualitative Consumer Education Generic Clearance).  In its letter, the ABA asserted that after obtaining approval for the Qualitative Consumer Education Generic Clearance in 2013, the CFPB improperly used the clearance to seek approval, without prior public notice, for an information collection on “Qualitative Research of Consumer Understanding and Decision-making Related to Overdrafts.”  The ABA stated that because the collection would clearly inform the CFPB’s overdraft rulemaking, such as the need for increased disclosures and limitations on usage, it should have been pursued through a standard clearance.  The ABA urged the CFPB to refrain from improperly using a generic clearance to conduct an individual collection on substantive or policy issues and to seek approval for a standard clearance when it plans to conduct such a collection.

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