CFPB ombudsman explains exam policy change

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Dec. 9, 2013 – The CFPB Ombudsman office provides a little background on the bureau’s decision to stop sending enforcement attorneys to financial institutions’ on-site examinations in its second annual report to the bureau.

The ombudsman heard concerns from a number of groups, including NAFCU, about the practice, and after conducting a review of the policy itself, the office recommended that it be reviewed and clarifications made to examined entities in the meantime about what the attorneys were doing at the exams. CFPB set up an internal working group on the issue and, after many months, revised the role of enforcement attorneys at examinations. While they no longer attend on-site exams, the enforcement attorneys “will continue to be integrated on examinations through regular meetings with examination staff,” the report says.

In its report, the ombudsman office acknowledged receiving concerns from financial entities and affiliated trade groups regarding CFPB’s supervisory examinations and recommended in the report that the bureau make clear how a financial entity may raise concerns about the examination process by:

  • providing specific information on who composes the examination team through the regional director;
  • supplementing the Information Request template to mention the Examiner-In-Charge as the main contact during the examination lifecycle; and
  • clarifying what may be expected during the examination lifecycle.

Only those institutions with more than $10 billion in assets are examined directly by CFPB. While that currently only captures the largest four credit unions, more are expected to be affected as they grow in asset size.

In other findings, the ombudsman office said it handled 1,422 individual consumer inquiries this year – far more than 775 inquires last year – most of them regarding mortgages. The largest number of consumer complaints was received on mortgages (55 percent) and credit products (21 percent).

Related Links:
CFPB Ombudsman Office report