On October 30, the American Bankers Association (“ABA”) filed a letter opposing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s plan, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, to conduct a nationwide web-based survey of 8,000 individuals as part of the Bureau’s study of overdraft protection services.  The ABA urged the CFPB to re-submit its proposed plan with a draft survey because the contours of the current process were “defective and opaque.”  A copy of the letter can be found here.

According to the ABA’s comment letter, its research has demonstrated that: (1) consumers value overdraft services; (2) the banking industry has responded by designing sustainable and transparent overdraft protection options; and (3) consumers are empowered by the existing regulatory framework to make informed choices and manage their accounts responsibly.  The ABA claims that it has encouraged the CFPB in the past to survey consumers who used overdraft services regularly to understand their decision-making processes.

However, the ABA attacked the current survey proposal, in part, because the CFPB failed to invite comment on the draft survey and plans to use the generic clearance process for other overdraft research.  The ABA claims this will “seriously undermine the accountability structure of the Paperwork Reduction Act and increase the risk that important information and data will be left out of regulatory policy calculations.”