On February 25, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reauthorized their Memorandum of Understanding, or “MOU.”

The MOU, which governs the FTC’s and CFPB’s joint operations, focuses on five key areas of cooperation:

  • Joint law enforcement efforts – The agreement requires one agency to give notice to the other prior to commencing an investigation. Both agencies are required to give the other details about the proceedings they are initiating, including the court in which the proceeding is being brought, the alleged facts surrounding the case, and the agency’s requested relief. Importantly, the agreement also allows either agency to intervene in any action commenced by the other agency, as long as the intervening agency shares jurisdiction.
  • Joint resolution efforts One agency must also notify the other prior to proposing or entering into any consent decree or settlement with an MOU Covered Person. Each agency must also notify the other prior to issuing no-action letters, warning letters, or closing letters.
  • Joint rulemaking efforts – The agencies must consult and notify one another prior to issuing proposed rules or agency guidance under statutes such as the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, and UDAAP.
  • Supervisory Information and Examination Schedules – The CFPB must provide, and the two agencies must confer as to, the CFPB’s plans to examine MOU Covered Persons, and the CFPB must provide the FTC with Confidential Supervisory Information relating to MOU-covered persons subject to FTC jurisdiction, upon request from the FTC.
  • Consumer Complaints – Under the agreement, the agencies are to direct consumers to the agency best suited to resolve their complaints and are to make consumer complaints available to one another.

According to the FTC, the MOU is an agreement for “ongoing coordination between the two agencies under the terms of the Consumer Financial Protection Act,” aiming to avoid duplication of law enforcement and rulemaking efforts between the FTC and CFPB.  The full MOU is available here