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Dodd-Frank

CFPB Issues Final Rule on FOIA and Litigation Procedures

by   |   February 15, 2013

The CFPB has issued a final rule that establishes procedures for the public to obtain information from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and in legal proceedings. This final rule also establishes the CFPB’s rule regarding the confidential treatment of information obtained from persons in connection with the exercise of its authorities under Federal consumer financial law.

Subpart A of the final rule consists largely of definitions of terms that are used throughout the remainder of the part.

Subpart B of the final rule implements the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. FOIA grants the public an enforceable right to obtain access to or copies of Federal agency records unless disclosure of those records, or information contained within them, is exempt from disclosure pursuant to one or more statutory exemptions and exclusions.

Subpart C of the final rule sets forth procedures for serving the CFPB and its employees with copies of documents in connection with legal proceedings, such as summonses, complaints, subpoenas, and other litigation-related requests or demands for the CFPB’s records or official information. Subpart C also describes the CFPB’s procedures for considering such requests or demands for official information. These regulations (which are sometimes referred to as Touhy regulations) are modeled after similar regulations of other Federal agencies.

Subpart D of the rule pertains to the protection and disclosure of confidential information that the CFPB generates and receives during the course of its work. Various provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act require the CFPB to promulgate regulations providing for the confidentiality of certain types of information and protecting such information from public disclosure. Other provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, however, require or authorize the CFPB to share information, under certain circumstances, with other Federal and State agencies to the extent that they share jurisdiction with the CFPB as to the supervision of financial institutions, the enforcement of consumer financial protection laws, or the investigation and resolution of consumer complaints regarding financial institutions or consumer financial products and services.

Subpart E contains the CFPB’s rule implementing the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act serves to balance the government’s need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from Federal agencies’ collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them. The regulations in this subpart establish procedures by which members of the public may request access to information or records that the CFPB maintains about them, request amendment or correction of such information or records, and request an accounting of disclosures of their records by the CFPB.

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