On November 3, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it has revised its appeals process and issued a new appeals policy.  The announcement was made in conjunction with the release of the CFPB’s Fall 2015 Supervisory Highlights.  According to the Bureau, the “revisions reflect experience gained in the appeals process so far, and are aimed at improving efficiency, consistency, transparency, and fairness to supervised institutions.”

The revised policy, as amended:

  • Expressly allows members of the Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending (SEFL) Associate Director’s staff to participate on the appeal committee, replacing the existing requirement that an Assistant Director serve on the committee;
  • Permits an odd number of appeal committee members in order to facilitate resolution of appeals;
  • Limits oral presentations to issues raised in the written appeal;
  • Provides additional information regarding how appeals will be decided, including the standard the committee will use to evaluate the appeal;
  • Prevents an institution from appealing adverse findings or an unsatisfactory rating related to a recommended or pending investigation or public enforcement action until the enforcement investigation or action has been resolved; and
  • Changes the expected time to issue a written decision on appeals from 45 to 60 days.

An entity may only appeal a finding once.  For instance, an entity that receives a less than satisfactory rating (a 3, 4, or 5) in an examination report that is based on an earlier finding memorialized in a supervisory letter may appeal the letter or the report, but not both.  The CFPB, however, encourages supervised entities to engage in dialogue with the Bureau to discuss preliminary findings and any proposed ratings before an examination or supervisory review is completed.

The revised policy will apply to appeals of any report of exam emailed on or after September 21, 2015.  The new appeals policy is available here.