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Notice

Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Treasury.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comment.

SUMMARY:

The OCC, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a continuing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Currently, the OCC is soliciting comment concerning its extension, without change, of an information collection titled “Debt Cancellation Contracts and Debt Suspension Agreements “ 12 CFR 37.”

DATES:

You should submit written comments by: August 15, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

You should direct all written comments to the Communications Division, Attention: 1557-0224, Third Floor, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street, SW. Washington, DC 20219. In addition, comments may be sent by facsimile transmission to (202)874-4448, or by electronic mail to regs.comments@occ.treas.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

You can request additional information or a copy of the collection from Mary Gottlieb or Camille Dixon, (202) 874-5090, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division (1557-0202), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20219. You can inspect and photocopy the comments at the OCC's Public Reference Room, 250 E Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on business days. You can make an appointment to inspect the comments by calling (202) 874-5043.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The OCC is proposing to extend OMB approval of the following information collection:

Title: Debt Cancellation Contracts and Debt Suspension Agreements.

OMB Number: 1557-0224.

Description: This submission covers an existing regulation and involves no change to the regulation or the information collection. The OCC requests only that OMB renew its approval of the information collection.

The regulation requires national banks to disclose information about a Debt Cancellation Contract (DCC) or Debt Suspension Agreement (DSA). The short form disclosure is usually made orally and is issued at the time the bank first solicits the purchase of a contract. The long form disclosure is usually made in writing and is issued before the customer completes the purchase of the contract. There are special rules for transactions by telephone, solicitations using written mail inserts or “take one” applications, and electronic transactions. Part 37 provides two forms of disclosure that serve as models for satisfying the requirements of the rule. Use of the forms is not mandatory. A bank may adjust the form and wording of its disclosures so long as the requirements of the regulation are met.

12 U.S.C. 24 (Seventh) authorizes national banks to enter into DCCs and DSAs. The requirements of part 37 enhance consumer protections for customers who buy DCCs and DSAs from national banks and ensure that national banks do so on a safe and sound basis by requiring them to effectively manage their risk exposure.

Section 37.6

Section 37.6 requires a bank to provide the following disclosures, as appropriate:

  • Anti-tying—A bank must inform the customer that neither its decision whether to approve a loan nor the terms and conditions of the loan are conditioned on the purchase of a DCC or DSA.
  • Explanation of debt suspension agreement—A bank must disclose that if a customer activates the agreement, the customer's duty to pay the loan principal and interest is only suspended and the customer must fully repay the loan after the period of suspension has expired.
  • Amount of the fee—A bank must make disclosures regarding the amount of the fee. The disclosure must differ depending on whether the credit is open-end or closed-end. In the case of closed-end credit, the bank must disclose the total fee. In the case of open-end credit, the bank must either disclose that the periodic fee is based on the account balance multiplied by a unit cost and provide the unit cost, or disclose the formula used to compute the fee.
  • Lump sum payment of fee—A bank must disclose, where appropriate, that a customer has the option to pay the fee Start Printed Page 34816in a single payment or in periodic payments. This disclosure is not appropriate in the case of a DCC or DSA provided in connection with a home mortgage loan since the option to pay the fee in a single payment is not available in that case. Banks are also required to disclose that adding the fee to the amount borrowed will increase the cost of the contract.
  • Lump sum payment of fee with no refund—A bank must disclose that the customer has the option to choose a contract with or without a refund provision. This disclosure also states that prices of refund and no-refund products are likely to differ.
  • Refund of fee paid in lump sum—If a bank permits a customer to pay the fee in a single payment and to add the fee to the amount borrowed, the bank must disclose the bank's cancellation policy. The disclosure informs the customer that the DCC or DSA may be canceled at any time for a refund, within a specified number of days for a full refund, or at any time with no refund.
  • Whether use of credit line is restricted—A bank must inform a customer if the customer's activation of the contract would prohibit the customer from incurring additional charges or using the credit line.
  • Termination of a DCC or DSA—A bank must explain the circumstances under which a customer or the bank could terminate the contract if termination is permitted during the life of the loan.
  • Additional disclosures—A bank must inform consumers that it will provide additional information before the customer is required to pay for the product.
  • Eligibility requirements, conditions, and exclusions—A bank must describe any material limitations relating to the DCC or DSA.

The content of the short and long form may vary, depending on whether a bank elects to provide a summary of the conditions and exclusions in the long form disclosures or refer the customer to the pertinent paragraphs in the contract. The short form requires a bank to instruct the customer to read carefully both the long form disclosures and the contract for a full explanation of the terms of the contract. The long form gives a bank the option of either separately summarizing the limitations or advising the customer that a complete explanation of the eligibility requirements, conditions, and exclusions is available in the contract and identifying the paragraphs where a customer may find that information.

Section 37.7

Section 37.7 requires a bank to obtain a customer's written affirmative election to purchase a contract and written acknowledgment of receipt of the disclosures required by § 37.6. If the sale of the contract occurs by telephone, the customer's affirmative election to purchase and acknowledgment of receipt of the required short form may be made orally, provided the bank maintains certain documentation.

If the contract is solicited through written materials such as mail inserts or “take one” applications and the bank provides only the short form disclosures in the written materials, then the bank shall mail the acknowledgment, together with the long form disclosures, to the customer. The bank may not obligate the customer to pay for the contract until after the bank has received the customer's written acknowledgment of receipt of disclosures unless the bank maintains certain documentation. The affirmative election and acknowledgment may also be made electronically.

Type of Review: Extension, without change, of a currently approved collection.

Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit.

Number of Respondents: 2,200.

Total Annual Responses: 2,200.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Total Annual Burden Hours: 52,800.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. Comments are invited on:

(a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility;

(b) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information;

(c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;

(d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and

(e) Estimates of capital or startup costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information.

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Stuart Feldstein,

Assistant Director, Legislative & Regulatory Activities Division.

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[FR Doc. 05-11782 Filed 6-14-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4810-33-P