Financial Trades to CFPB: Show Us the Data on Credit Card Late Fees
CUNA, NAFCU among groups calling on bureau to fully justify reasoning behind proposed rule.
The CFPB must release the data it is relying upon to argue that credit card late fees should be reduced to $8, financial trade groups said last week.
“Without this information, it is virtually impossible to understand or replicate the analysis in any meaningful way, significantly hindering the public’s ability to provide thoughtful input,” the groups, including CUNA, NAFCU and the American Bankers Association, wrote, in a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The Bureau’s decision to rely on data and analysis that it has not publicly disclosed conflicts with bedrock principles of administrative law.”
The CFPB announced its proposed rule on Feb. 1, stating that the comment period would last until April 3, or 30 days after the plan is published in the Federal Register. It is part of the agency’s effort to combat so-called “junk fees.”
Trade groups had blasted the bureau for only providing only 30 days for comment and for not having convened a panel to examine the impact the rule would have on small financial institutions.
Notably, the proposed rule had not been published in the Federal Register as of Friday, so that April 3 date definitely has slipped.
Inside the Letter
In their letter, the financial trade groups noted that the CFPB relied on Federal Reserve Board data and similar data in explaining the need for the rule. However, the agency has yet to release any of that data.
The groups said they plan to comment on the proposed rule and that they understand the release of certain data could raise confidentiality concerns.
“Accordingly,” they wrote, “we request only that the Bureau release such data in a manner that is anonymized and/or aggregated to the extent necessary to protect confidential bank information.”
They argued further that under federal law and federal court cases, the CFPB must expose its data to “refutation” and must explain the assumptions it used in developing the rule. And if the methodology is challenged, the agency must provide a complete analytical defense.
“In short, the Bureau must disclose the ‘most critical factual material’ on which it relied and provide ‘further opportunity to comment,’” the letter states.
Additional Criticism of CFPB
House Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., recently criticized the agency for, among other things, failing to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act, which establishes a process for developing rules.
He went on to call the CFPB “the most unchecked, unaccountable agency in the whole Federal government.”