I started working in the mortgage compliance world shortly after the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As I read through the new rules being implemented, I often discovered ambiguities in the law.
In those early days, I regularly reached out to the CFPB through a reg inquiry. To do so, I would send the law that I believed needed clarification in an email along with my question.
The most frustrating part quickly became the phone call that followed with a CFPB attorney. Expecting clarification, I was surprised the first few times as the attorney on the other end read the law to me word for word, with no additional explanation, the same law that I had sent over in my email and spent days or weeks studying before submitting the question. As they read, I would often interrupt, hoping for clarification, and they would continue reading or start over.
Needless to say, it didn't take long before I stopped submitting reg inquiries.
In 2020, the CFPB created a new program, known as the Advisory Opinion Program, which provides written guidance to assist regulated entities to better understand their legal and regulatory obligations. Entities can submit requests for advisory opinions regarding any issue under the Bureau’s jurisdiction that can be resolved through an interpretive rule. Per the CFPB, the purpose of this new program is to help the bureau comply with one of its primary functions, which is to issue guidance to implement Federal consumer financial law. They stated that “providing clear and useful guidance to regulated entities is an important aspect of facilitating markets that serve consumers.”
We recently submitted a couple of questions, going through the process of drafting up the questions, along with any applicable laws.
Then we waited and waited. After the first month passed with no response, I wondered if I would ever hear from them.
Around that time, my friend, Audrey Boisseneu, reached out to let me know they were having someone from the CFPB as a guest on her Mortgage Pros411 podcast and she asked if I had any questions.