Enforcement Powers  
of the  
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  
Article - Excerpts
Subpoenas & Investigations
Hearings & Adjudications




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April 2013

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For several months, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB" or "Bureau") has implemented a spate of enforcement actions against banks and non-banks. My interest in this article is neither to re-litigate those cases nor single out any particular financial institution for further scrutiny.

Sometimes we must learn our lessons at somebody else's expense, rather than to castigate another for unseemly conduct.

None of us, however, is absolved of the responsibilities, the violations of which could lead to enforcement actions against us or the financial institution where we are employed. 

I hope you enjoy the article!

Jonathan Foxx
President and Managing Director 
Subpoenas & Investigations

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Section 1052 of the Dodd-Frank authorizes the CFPB to engage in joint, interagency investigations and requests for information, including matters relating to fair lending. Though the statute specifically provides that, "where appropriate," the Bureau may conduct "joint investigations" with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Attorney General of the United States, or both, it also sets forth lengthy provisions governing subpoena powers and civil investigative demands.
Hearings & Adjudications

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On November 7, 2011, the Bureau issued CFPB Bulletin 2011-04 (entitled "Enforcement"),  the first in a series of bulletins relating to policies and priorities of the Bureau's Office of Enforcement. The Bulletin announced that before the CFPB commences an enforcement proceeding, it may (or may not) give the subject of the proceeding notice of the nature of the potential violations and may (or may not) offer the subject the opportunity to submit a written statement in response. The Bulletin also gave specific instructions regarding the submission requirements of the written statement, such as the paper size, spacing, font size, and length, while also mandating that the response had to be received by the CFPB by no more than 14 calendar days after the notice.

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