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Debt Collection Rulemaking on Hold Amid CFPB Rancor

The future of federal rules covering debt collection has been thrown into doubt amid the leadership change at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In one of his first actions since taking the helm of the CFPB as acting director, Mick Mulvaney announced a halt on all Bureau rulemaking, reported Reuters.

It has been more than four years since the CFPB announced plans to propose the first-ever rules regulating debt collectors subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Last year it issued an outline of what those rules might look like. The Bureau had indicated earlier this year that proposed rules would be forthcoming, leading to speculation of their unveiling in September or October. Mulvaney’s announcement indicates that proposed rules are not forthcoming.

In addition to proposing rules for traditional debt collectors, the CFPB was also in the early stages of formulating rules to regulate debt collection activities by originating creditors subject to its jurisdiction, but the recently proposed halt will likely impact that process as well.

“The president has made it very clear he wants me here. … I want to be here. I don’t want anything coming out of here that I don’t know about,” Reuters quoted Mulvaney as saying.

Speculation at this point is that the proposed debt collection rules will undergo a review from Mulvaney and his newly installed team prior to their release by the CFPB. In that case, it could be some time before the proposed rules are revealed, if ever.

In the short term, we should expect renewed efforts at the state and local levels for enhanced debt collection regulation, a trend that began soon after the election of Donald Trump and has only intensified since.

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