Over the course of almost two years, the economy has faced unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic, followed by changes in the presidential administration, has created a new environment with increased regulatory oversight. In comparison to the previous administration, the Biden administration has embraced the more active role of financial regulatory agencies and has taken concrete steps by appointing key leadership roles in financial regulatory agencies:
- March 11, 2021: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland was sworn in as the 86th Attorney General of the United States.
- April 14, 2021: Gary Gensler was confirmed by the US Senate after being nominated by to chair the SEC by President Biden on February 3, 2021.
- September 23, 2021: Saule Omarova was nominated by President Biden for the role of Comptroller of the Currency, Department of Treasury. If approved by the Senate, she will become the first woman and person of color to serve as the comptroller of the currency. Due to the lack of Democratic support, Omarova is not expected to be confirmed by the Senate.
- September 30 , 2021: Rohit Chopra was confirmed by the US Senate to lead the CFPB. He assumed office on October 12, 2021.
Based on market trends, insights and experience, Guidehouse expects financial institutions will be facing more aggressive regulatory enforcement in the following years. Additionally, Guidehouse anticipates more cross-agency collaboration to combat regulatory misconduct, as seen recently by the cooperation of the OCC, CFPB, and DOJ on enforcing actions related to Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). Moving forward, the primary focus will be addressing COVID relief, protecting minorities, and equitability, unfair, and deceptive practices, fair lending, and other borrower-centered regulations.
Guidehouse continues to monitor ongoing industry and political changes to support clients in addressing and managing compliance and regulatory risks while focusing on market opportunities. Prior to providing a more in-depth analysis for the next quarter, Guidehouse would like to share market insights from regulators that could potentially impact current and future trends.
- October 20, 2021: Federal regulatory agencies, including CFPB, FDIC, and OCC, jointly issued a statement supporting preparedness of financial institutions regarding LIBOR’s discontinuation.
- October 21, 2021: The CFPB targeted tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square by ordering the firms to provide information on how they’re collecting and using customers’ financial data.
- October 29, 2021: The CFPB announced leadership changes within the bureau. Lorelei Salas will be joining the CFPB as Assistant Director for Supervision Policy, whereas Eric Halperin will be joining as Assistant Director for the Office of Enforcement.
- November 17, 2021: Federal Reserve, OCC, and FDIC approved cyberattack rules for the US banking system, effective April 1, 2022.
- November 22, 2021: President Biden nominated Jerome Powell as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. An announcement on three vacant seats on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is expected early December.
- November 30, 2021: The previously announced CFPB final rules under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) go into effect.
Along with continued cross-agency collaboration and a focus on fair lending, Guidehouse has observed increased attention on FinTechs and their consumer data practices.
Guidehouse’s Financial Services Enforcement Actions Tracker compiles publicly available data from both federal and state regulators regarding quarterly enforcement actions against financial institutions. First published in 2016, the Tracker showcases the types of activities that consumer finance-focused regulators are currently monitoring and helps the audience better address the trends and challenges in today’s regulatory environment. Download the PDF for the full report.
Special thanks to Perry Clark and Nina Jankovic for contributing to this article.