On May 13, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released two new FAQ documents outlining responsibilities of certain financial firms during the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, and a statement regarding billing error responsibilities of credit card issuers and other open-end non-home secured creditors.
The first new FAQ document is entitled, “The Bureau’s Payments and Deposits Rules FAQs related to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” and is available here. This document advises financial and depository institutions that they may change account terms due to the pandemic as long as they provide appropriate notice to consumers. Additionally, the CFPB reminds providers of checking, savings, or prepaid accounts that they can change account terms without advance notice provided that the change is clearly favorable to the consumer.
The CFPB’s second FAQ document, “Open-End (not Home-Secured) Rules FAQs related to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is available here. These FAQs describe regulatory flexibilities for open-end non-home secured creditors, all aimed at assisting consumers who have been impacted by the pandemic. Generally, the advice is for creditors to “communicate proactively with consumers to provide helpful information and resources.”
The CFPB also released a “Statement on Supervisory and Enforcement Practices Regarding Regulation Z Billing Error Resolution Timeframes in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” available here. The statement highlights responsibilities of open-end non-home secured creditors, including those subject to the Truth in Lending Act, and aims to “provide them with temporary and targeted relief to ensure that they are able to assist their consumers and accurately resolve their billing error claims.”
In its release of these new resources, the CFPB made a point of “encourag[ing] financial firms to continue to provide the kind of assistance to their communities that many have been providing, such as waiving fees, lowering minimum-balance requirements, and implementing changes in account terms that benefit consumers.”
For regular updates on the impact that COVID-19 is having on the financial services sector, visit the Troutman Sanders/Pepper Hamilton joint COVID-19 Resource Center, or the COVID-19 feed here on the CFS Law Monitor.