Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is publishing this policy statement in order to announce a new designation for certain Bureau guidance, known as “Compliance Aids,” and to explain the legal status and role of guidance with that designation.
This policy statement becomes applicable on February 1, 2020.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Christopher Shelton, Counsel, or Lea Mosena, Senior Counsel, Legal Division, 202-435-7700. Regulatory inquiries can be submitted at https://reginquiries.consumerfinance.gov/. If you require this document in an alternative electronic format, please contact CFPB_Accessibility@cfpb.gov.
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The Bureau's “primary functions” under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 
include issuing guidance implementing Federal consumer financial law.
The Bureau believes that providing clear and useful guidance to regulated entities is an important aspect of facilitating markets that serve consumers.
Since its inception, the Bureau has provided guidance through a variety of means, and its guidance functions have evolved and are continuing to evolve in response to feedback from industry and other stakeholders. Some examples of compliance resources that the Bureau has released include small entity compliance guides, instructional guides for disclosure forms, executive summaries, summaries of regulation changes, factsheets, flow charts, compliance checklists, frequently asked questions, and summary tables.
II. Policy Statement on Compliance Aids
Going forward, the Bureau intends to establish a new category of materials that are similar to previous compliance resources but will now be designated as “Compliance Aids.” This designation will provide the public with greater clarity regarding the legal status and role of these materials, as discussed below.
The Bureau does not intend to use Compliance Aids to make decisions that bind regulated entities. Unlike the Bureau's regulations and official interpretations, Compliance Aids are not “rules” under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Rather, Compliance Aids present the requirements of existing rules and statutes in a manner that is useful for compliance professionals, other industry stakeholders, and the public.
Compliance Aids may also include practical suggestions for how entities might choose to go about complying with those rules and statutes.
But they may not address all situations. Where there are multiple methods of compliance that are permitted by the applicable rules and statutes, an entity can make its own business decision regarding which method to use, and this may include a method that is not specifically addressed in a Compliance Aid. In sum, regulated entities are not required to comply with the Compliance Aids themselves. Regulated entities are only required to comply with the underlying rules and statutes.
Compliance Aids are designed to accurately summarize and illustrate the underlying rules and statutes. Accordingly, when exercising its enforcement and supervisory discretion, the Bureau does not intend to sanction, or ask a court to sanction, entities that reasonably rely on Compliance Aids.
II. Regulatory Requirements
This policy statement constitutes a general statement of policy that is exempt from the notice and comment rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
It is intended to provide information regarding the Bureau's general plans to exercise its discretion and does not confer any rights. Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not require an initial or final regulatory flexibility analysis.
The Bureau has also determined that this policy statement does not impose any new or revise any existing recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements on covered entities or members of the public that would be collections of information requiring approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act,
the Bureau will submit a report containing this policy statement and other required information to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to its applicability date. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has designated this policy statement as not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).
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Dated: January 10, 2020.
Kathleen L. Kraninger,
Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
[FR Doc. 2020-00648 Filed 1-24-20; 8:45 am]
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