On January 31, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “Bureau” or “CFPB”) issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking comments and information from the public regarding the Bureau’s use of administrative adjudications.  The Bureau intends to use the comments received to inform deliberations as to whether and how to revise and update the Bureau’s Rules of Practice for Adjudication Proceedings.  This RFI is the second installment in a call for evidence to reexamine CFPB activities to “ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect consumers.”  Acting Director Mick Mulvaney initiated this effort to reevaluate, and potentially adjust, how the Bureau performs its functions.

In the RFI, the Bureau notes that it is “especially interested” in receiving suggestions on the following topics:

  • Methods for updating, streamlining, or revising the Bureau’s administrative adjudication Rules and processes to better achieve the Bureau’s statutory objectives;
  • Methods of minimizing burdens, impacts, or costs to parties subject to the proceedings;
  • Methods for aligning the Bureau’s administrative adjudication Rules more closely with those of other agencies; and
  • Methods for better providing fair and efficient process to parties involved in adjudication proceedings, including ensuring those parties have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence and arguments relating to the proceeding.

The Bureau, however, invites feedback on all aspects of the administrative adjudication process.

The RFI also identifies 13 general areas of Bureau processes that may deserve more immediate focus than other areas. For example, the Bureau asks about whether pursuing contested matters in federal court would be more appropriate; the requirements for the notice of charges; timing limitations built into the adjudicative process; limitations on discovery; and whether the Federal Rules of Evidence should be applied. While comments are not restricted to these specific areas, these topics reflect many concerns that have been expressed about the Bureau’s administrative process (and in some cases, the processes at other federal agencies as well).