Regulatory Compliance
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When Final Doesn’t Mean Final

With all of the new rules that will come from the CFPB in 2013 and beyond,  everyone is curious as to how the CFPB will handle new rules and what guidance they will provide.  The best way to get a read on the CFPB’s approach is to look at the one rule they have finalized thus far: the remittance transfer rule.

The CFPB first issued the ‘final rule’ in January of this year, while leaving a couple of issues, like the safe harbor, open for comment.  The CFPB then issued a modified final rule on August 7th, making other changes in addition to the safe harbor, which they set at 100.  The rule was set to take effect on February 7th, 2013.  Now, just last week, the CFPB announced that they would delay the effective date until Spring while they tinker with the rule again.  Depending on your outlook, this either shows that the CFPB can’t get it right the first time or that they are open to changing and adjusting rules in response to comments.  I tend to fall into the latter outlook.  While it can be frustrating to track a rule through various changes, we ultimately want a balanced rule that makes sense.  If it takes a few go-rounds to get it there so be it.  We don’t know what the CFPB Final (part III) remittance rule will look like, but the hope is that they will continue to refine it such that it protects consumer while minimizing undue risk or cost to credit unions.  

The CFPB has taken its fair share of criticism, much of it deserved, but with the remittance rule they have shown a willingness to make changes when something is unclear or simply doesn’t make sense.  That is not to say that the end result will be ideal, but at least there appears to be a meaningful dialogue and some weighing of costs and benefits in adopting the rule.  Hopefully this approach will continue into 2013.  Just remember, ‘final’ can be a relative term in the regulatory compliance arena.

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