Proposed Advisory Opinion program would aid compliance

August 21, 2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed Advisory Opinion (AO) program would provide another mechanism through which it may better enable regulatory compliance, CUNA wrote Friday. The proposed AO Program would allow parties to request interpretive guidance in the form of an AO, to resolve questions regarding regulatory uncertainty.

“While the implementation of a pilot AO Program and the issuance of this proposed rule to establish a permanent program are positive developments, we urge the Bureau to avoid issuing AOs that could ultimately stifle innovation or paint covered entities into a corner,” the letter reads. “We also recommend the Bureau provide an opportunity for covered entities to comment on potential AOs to be addressed and a mechanism to request necessary modifications or rescissions. In addition, we strongly encourage the Bureau to limit the permitted AO requestors to covered entities and their representatives or agents, such as outside counsel or a trade association.”

The AO will not issue AOs on issues that require notice-and-comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), or that are better addressed through that process.

AOs issued under the program will be considered interpretive rules under the APA and published to Federal Register. Unless otherwise stated, each AO will be applicable to the requestor and to similarly situated parties to the extent that their situations conform to the summary of material facts in the AO.