CFPB Outlines Billing Error Responsibilities of Financial Firms During Pandemic

May 20, 2020Federal Regulation, News

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a statement and FAQs concerning the obligations of financial firms during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the Bureau’s statement outlined billing error responsibilities of credit card issuers and other creditors.

“The Bureau intends to take a flexible supervisory and enforcement approach with respect to those timeframes where creditors demonstrate a good faith effort to comply with their statutory and regulatory obligations,” the statement reads.

The statement explains that the CFPB does not plan on citing violations in an examination as long as creditors comply with the requirements of resolving billing errors.

The CFPB also encouraged financial firms to continue providing assistance to affected communities, including by lowering minimum-balance requirements, waiving fees, and enacting beneficial account changes for consumers.

The Bureau also released two FAQ documents. The first emphasizes that account providers can offer immediate relief by changing account terms without advance notice to benefit the consumers. The second document highlights regulatory flexibilities for open-end credit that could help consumers.

“Many creditors have already taken action to assist consumers during the pandemic,” the statement concludes. “Such assistance includes late fee waivers or refunds and repayment forbearance or deferral, in some cases without interest accrual or with temporary interest rate reductions. The Bureau encourages creditors to consider whether they also want to provide consumers with these types of relief options during this time, especially as many consumers are facing temporary income loss.”

“Creditors can also help consumers take advantage of online and mobile self-service tools, which can be faster and more convenient for both the creditor and the consumer than a telephone call with a customer service representative,” the statement continued.

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