CFPB Regulatory Action Post-COVID

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In preparation for Director Kraninger’s testimony in the Senate today and in the House tomorrow, CRREA Project has taken a look back at what regulatory actions the CFPB has taken since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. 

In preparation for Director Kraninger’s testimony in the Senate today and in the House tomorrow, I took a look back at what regulatory actions the CFPB has taken since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.  To that end, we at CRREA Project have prepared a chart listing every regulatory action the CFPB has taken since the beginning of March.    

What we find will come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the CFPB:  there were more actions reducing consumer protections than promoting consumer protections, and there were zero regulatory actions in support of fair lending, although there were some, such as the request for information on credit discrimination issued on July 28 that were at least neutral or mixed with regard to fair lending.  In line with its stated regulatory philosophy, the CFPB throughout this period prioritized protection of “the financial sector and reducing regulatory burden, not consumer protection.

This was a missed opportunity.  Consumers, and the public at large, could have benefited from a CFPB willing to engage with its mission.  The CFPB could have stopped the garnishment of stimulus payments, or required mortgage servicers to provide homeowners clear notices about their repayment options after a forbearance, or defined parameters for debt collection that protected the public health, to take only a few obvious examples.  Mounting evidence suggests that communities of color, particularly Black, Latino, Native American, and immigrant communities bear the brunt of the health, mortality, and economic impacts of COVID.  Work could and should have been done by the CFPB to protect those communities and live up to its mission.

Methodology

We reviewed the CFPB newsroom clips from the beginning of March forward.  Any policy statement, guidance, notice of proposed rulemaking, final rule, or announcement of regulatory flexibility was added to our list.  We give the date, the title (with a hyperlink to either the underlying document), and a brief description, lifted mostly from the CFPB’s press releases, of the action. 

For every action, we then give it a thumbs up or thumbs down on consumer protection and, where there are significant fair lending implications distinct from general consumer protection issues, on fair lending.  If the action neither reduced nor increased consumer protection or fair lending, we rated it neutral.  Some actions had, in our judgment, both positive and negative impacts, and those we reported as mixed.These thumbs up or thumbs down aren’t scientific, and a thumbs down doesn’t necessarily mean it was the wrong choice for the CFPB to take the given action.  Accommodations for financial institutions during the pandemic were certainly warranted in some cases. 

Because we are focused on regulatory advocacy, we did not review the CFPB’s enforcement, research, or consumer education initiatives for purposes of this survey.  We also did not include blog posts, such as the July 7 Innovation Spotlight, in our counting unless they clearly articulated a regulatory action.

Findings 

Note:  Click on graphics to make them larger.

Since the beginning of March, the CFPB had, by our count, 34 regulatory actions.   None promoted fair lending.  A minority of those actions was consumer protective.

In either press releases or the underlying document, the CFPB claimed 20 of those actions, mostly policy statements relaxing supervision and enforcement of the consumer financial protection laws, as being related to COVID-19.  At least some of the actions characterized by the CFPB as being motivated by the pandemic seem unconnected.  For example, the CFPB in its  press release for the final payday lending rule, rescinding the ability-to-repay underwriting requirements of the 2017 payday rule, linked the rescission of those protections to pandemic relief, a position the preamble to the rule was careful to distance itself from.  Other actions, like relaxing disclosure timing requirements for mortgages or credit card applications, justified as COVID-related on the basis of the need to expedite credit, do not reflect what the CFPB’s own research shows were the actual problems consumers were experiencing.  Of those 20 purportedly COVID-related actions, we rate 10 of them as negative on consumer protection, and three as negative on fair lending.  Four of the CFPB’s self-described regulatory actions in response to COVID were consumer protective, three were mixed, and two neutral.  None of the CFPB’s regulatory actions during this period, either linked to COVID or not, promoted fair lending.

Of the total 34 regulatory actions, whether COVID-related or not, more actions were negative on consumer protection than not.  There were 13 regulatory actions that reduced consumer protections, eight neutral actions, seven actions that supported consumer protection, five mixed, and one unknown regulatory actions in terms of the consumer protections afforded. 

Over this time period, there were no clearly positive regulatory actions in support of fair lending.  Seven of the CFPB’s 34 regulatory actions that raised significant fair lending implications were neutral on fair lending, four mixed, five negative actions, and one unknown action.

Aside from the sheer paucity of consumer protective action are the missed opportunities.  It is standard practice for regulators to remind financial institutions and scammers that there will be consequences for breaking the law.  Financial regulators in states as disparate as New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Massachusetts all used their bully pulpits to warn would-be law breakers of consequences.  But not the CFPB.  Instead, its policy statements consistently assured financial institutions that the CFPB would not pursue enforcement action, and that any supervisory action would be corrective only, so long as the institution was making some good faith efforts.  We will likely never know what the cost of that approach was, but those Black small business owners whose small businesses went under during COVID because they could not get a Paycheck Protection Program loan are undoubtedly part of the human toll of the CFPB’s regulatory choices during the time of COVID.

 

Agenda

What Can We Learn from CFPB’s Spring 2020 Unified Agenda Entries?


A version of this blog was previously posted in the American Constitution Society Expert Forum Blog and the Economic Policy Institute’s Working Economics Blog .

The week, Director Kraninger of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee in connection with the CFPB’s Semi-Annual Report.  As we go into these hearings, it’s worth reviewing what we know about the CFPB’s current regulatory agenda.  As a reminder, the CFPB is the regulator that oversees all of the consumer financial regulations in the marketplace—everything from credit cards to payday loans to mortgages to debt collection to credit reporting.  If you have a bank account, a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, or if you have tried to get or want one of those, the CFPB’s rules impact you. 

At the end of June, the CFPB, along with all of the other federal agencies, released its  rulemaking agenda on the rulemaking that the agency plans to undertake through April 2021.  As we at the Consumer Rights Regulatory Engagement and Advocacy Project (CRREA Project) discuss in Decoding the Unified Agenda , everything is in the Unified Agenda—what an agency is working on, what it plans to do next, and when it anticipates taking that next step.  Rules are characterized as significant or nonsignificant, the agency contact for the rule is listed (in the CFPB’s case, this is almost always the attorney designated as the team lead on the rulemaking), and the history of the rulemaking project are all laid out.

Looking at an agency’s Unified Agenda also tells the reader something about the agency’s current priorities and rulemaking philosophy.  The CFPB, in addition to its agency rule list , issues a  blog post, which updates the Unified Agenda to reflect what the CFPB has done between when it submitted its Unified Agenda entries and when the Unified Agenda was released, and a preamble , which the CFPB is unique among agencies in doing twice a year.

The CFPB’s Regulatory Response to COVID-19

The CFPB seems to have understood its job during the pandemic as completing pre-assigned priorities on time rather than responding flexibly and creatively to the crisis.  Comparing the Unified Agenda entries with the blog, the CFPB showed impressive discipline in sticking to its rulemaking schedule, despite COVID-19.  (As noted in the blog post, this year the time lag between when the Unified Agenda entries were submitted and when they were published straddled the pre- and post-COVID worlds).  The CFPB mostly met its pre-COVID target dates, seldom falling more than a month behind.  For example, although the CFPB’s repeal of an Obama-era regulation requiring payday lenders to determine borrowers’ ability to repay loans  was  widely rumored to be scheduled for issuance in late April, the Unified Agenda set June 2020 as the month for its  issuance.  In the end, the CFPB released the rule on July 7, shortly after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the CFPB in Seila Law v. CFPBHolding tight to a rulemaking schedule requires discipline in the best of times, and the transition to remote work plus the general strains of pandemic life must have made sticking to the calendar even harder this year. 

 

Reviewing the blog post, and the CFPB’s actions, suggests the tunnel vision necessary to maintain that discipline.  The blog post’s nod to COVID-related work is a  link to a generic supervisory bulletin page.  While many items on that page post mid-March 2020 are styled as COVID-related, they read like a grab bag of mostly minor regulatory adjustments.  The actions taken show a consistent bent towards favoring flexibility for industry and encouraging faster access to credit, regardless of price or terms, but lacking is a sweeping regulatory adjustment to COVID-19, either favoring consumers or industry

Moreover, the two congressionally mandated, consumer protective rulemakings, on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans and small business lending data collection, both remain in  pre-rulemaking status and have not advanced since the Fall 2019 Unified Agenda .  Among the very first responses the CFPB took to the pandemic was to suspend  the data collection necessary to advance those rulemakings.  The small business lending data collection remains slated for the release of an outline of the rule in September,  thanks no doubt at least in part to the settlement of the lawsuit  brought by the California Reinvestment Coalition and others to force the CFPB to restart that rulemaking.  But the only next step listed for the PACE rulemaking is “pursuing quantitative data,” and no further mention of PACE is made in the blog.  Apparently then, PACE will have to wait behind other, deregulatory rulemakings, such as the CFPB’s “reconsideration” and limitation of the data points collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act . 

I have elsewhere laid out a comprehensive agenda for the CFPB in responding to COVID-19 and argued specifically for the need for action on debt collection, both as a public health matter and as a matter of consumer protection.  But the CFPB chose, by in large, to ignore the crisis and proceed with rulemaking as if hundreds or thousands of people weren’t dying every day.  For those pushing for the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda, this tunnel vision was surely a victory.  For the rest of us, it was at best a missed opportunity.

The CFPB’s Regulatory Philosophy

What is most striking—and most useful to advocates—is what is revealed about the current agency’s rulemaking philosophy.  Partway through the CFPB’s  blog post announcing the Unified Agenda comes the tell:  “[W]e have continued to move forward with our other regulatory work, prioritizing activities intended to protect the stability of the financial sector and enhance its recovery . . . .”  Consumer protection is an “as well” afterthought, but not the central mission of this CFPB.  The  preamble  expands on this, explaining, “If the Bureau has discretion, the Bureau will focus on preventing consumer harm by maximizing informed consumer choice, and by reducing unwarranted regulatory burden which can adversely affect competition and consumers’ access to financial products and services.” 

Regardless of what one thinks of this approach to the CFPB’s mission, this nonetheless provides a roadmap for advocates:  Focus your arguments on competition, access, and choice.  Draw attention to places where market practices result in consumers’ lacking adequate information to make decisions or where competition fails.  This framework makes revisiting the payday lending rule hard, but suggests fruitful engagement in debt collection and mortgage servicing where consumer choice is irrelevant as consumers have no choice over their debt collectors or mortgage servicers.  Arguments about stability in the financial markets are likely to carry more weight than petitions for equity or consumer protection against mainstream financial practices.  Access will trump protection at this CFPB, so what are the arguments about how the proposals on the table will affect access or impose costs on business interests?  Are there places where streamlining regulations results in consumer benefits?  Now is the time to focus on those areas.

Effective regulatory advocacy requires sustained engagement, year after year, and meeting the agencies on their own terms.  Within the current CFPB agenda, there are places for advocates to advance racial and economic justice, if they focus on the arguments the agency is open to hearing.  In Working with Cost-Benefit Analysis, we at CRREA Project lay out some strategies for doing this.  We highlight the importance of quantifying what you can, whether through surveys or case file reviews, and situating problems in the broader context.  And, while commenting on proposals is always important, and our  How to Comment one-page checklist should help with commenting, meetings with staff, engagement with Congress on oversight, including in connection with the upcoming hearings, letters to the CFPB, press attention, and even litigation remain important tools for advocates.

Will CFPB Leadership Follow Where the Data Lead and Protect Debt-Laden Consumers from Predatory Settlement Companies?


The CFPB’s own debt settlement report suggests consumers are in trouble.  The CFPB could, if it chose, get to the bottom of who is in trouble and why. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) career economists have again put up a red flare, warning of heightened risk to consumers in the current economy.  The CFPB’s recent report on debt settlement shows that consumer delinquencies on credit cards and other unsecured debt were increasing in 2019, while the many consumers facing financial distress were more exposed than ever to predatory debt settlement companies.  Whether the CFPB will follow those warning lights to do more than pursue a few bad actors remains to be seen.  Congress should take advantage of its upcoming hearings with the Director of the CFPB to push for more data as a necessary first step to provide meaningful consumer protections against predatory settlement companies

Debt settlement, as the report explains, happens when creditors agree to write off a portion of the debt.  Generally, creditors only do this when they see no realistic prospect of recovering the money.  In 2019, the total amount of debt settled was again increasing above the 2007 levels, at the inception of the Great Recession.  At the same time, the share of consumers working with credit counseling agencies (CCAs) has shrunk to a fraction of what it was in 2007, leaving consumers increasingly to either settle their debts on their own or pay debt settlement companies (DSCs) to do so for them.  

CCAs are generally nonprofits that provide a range of tools, including individualized counseling, to help individuals manage their debt burden.  The CFPB actively encourages consumers having trouble paying their debts to contact a CCA .  In contrast, the CFPB’s consumer education materials warn, “Dealing with debt settlement companies can be risky” and “Debt settlement may well leave you deeper in debt than you were when you started.”  But CCAs, like  other nonprofits serving distressed consumers, including housing counselors and legal services programs, saw a drop in their funding levels in the wake of the Great Recession as both government and foundation funding meant to combat the foreclosure crisis moved on. 

There is so much more we should know before deciding on how and if to intervene:

  • Have delinquency rates and debt settlement rates continued to climb post-COVID? Are consumers maxxed out on debt or are they, as the CFPB has suggested,  seeking more credit?
  • Do debt settlement rates vary by income or race? The dataset relied on by the CFPB doesn’t include demographic information, but it does include location information that allows observation at the neighborhood level
  • Are low-income communities or communities of color more or less likely to use CCAs for help managing their debt burden or to turn to DSCs?
  • How much has the shift from CCAs to DSCs cost consumers and how does that cost vary by the income and racial composition of a neighborhood?

That this work has not yet been done is not a criticism of the report or its methodology.  Good research always points to the next set of questions.  But the CFPB, as an institution, has an obligation to do more.  Congress charged the CFPB with researching and reporting on the risks to consumers and particularly on the experiences of traditionally underserved consumers—the low-income communities and communities of color that were so disproportionately harmed by the Great Recession. 

The CFPB’s failure to advance a research agenda here, as with its stalling on the small business lending data collection rulemaking and its clawback of mortgage data used for fair lending analysis , has the result of hiding from view both the problem and the potential solution.  As long as we shroud the exact contours of the problem, we can continue to pretend that cases against individual bad actors (even if they settle for  less than one-hundredth of the consumer harm identified), convenings to discuss debt relief options for consumers, and consumer education are sufficient.  But none of those will protect most consumers. We must know who is harmed and how.  

We see now a renewed urgency to questions about our collective accountability for racial justice and equity and widespread uncertainty and strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Adopting an aggressive, public-facing research agenda to look at the intertwined questions of race, access to credit, and economic justice in the time of COVID could do much to advance the public discourse and allay questions about the commitment of the current leadership, notwithstanding legitimate policy differences, to the CFPB’s statutory mission. 

The CFPB’s own debt settlement report suggests consumers are in trouble.  The CFPB could, if it chose, get to the bottom of who is in trouble and why.  If it continues to leave unanswered the fundamental questions of who is harmed and by how much, Congress must hold it to account.  

– Diane

 

 

“The Congressional Review Act: The Basics”  

Read the Quick Guide 


We’ve received questions about how a new Congress and president could use the Congressional Review Act to overturn some of the previous administration’s rules.

 

CRA Basics PDF

 

As Election Day 2020 approaches, we’ve received questions from regulatory advocates about how a new Congress and president could use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn some of the previous administration’s rules, whether regulatory or deregulatory. There’s good reason to be wondering about this: the CRA’s “lookback” provision may well put rules published now within the next Congress’s reach to overturn using the fast-track procedures available under the CRA. To help answer some of these questions, we’ve developed, “The Congressional Review Act: The Basics.” It covers some of the most challenging issues in the CRA, including:

  • When its fast-track procedures can be used;
  • How far back the CRA can reach; and
  • What rules can be overturned. 

We also touch on different tactical uses of the CRA, such as an omnibus use of the CRA and how it can prevent substantially similar rulemakings in the future. 

Please check it out, and let us know what you think!

 

Nikka and Diane

 

Introducing “How to Comment” Quick Guide  

Read the Quick Guide


How to Comment is a one-page guide to the basics of influencing the process and rules you care about by submitting a formal comment.

 

How to Comment PDF

 

Federal agencies issue thousands of rules every year, and these affect our lives in even more ways. Luckily for those who want to have a say in rulemaking, agencies are required by law to consider suggestions and concerns you may have about many kinds of rules. This happens through a process called “notice and comment” rulemaking. How to Comment is a one-page guide to the basics of influencing the process and rules you care about by submitting a formal comment. It covers: 

  • How to find a rule to comment on;
  • What to pay attention to when reading a proposed rule;
  • What to put in your comment; and
  • How to submit your comment.

We hope this will be useful in your advocacy. Please check it out, and let us know what you think!

 

Nikka and Diane

 

Introducing “Working with Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Advocate”

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Using the language of cost-benefit analysis to explain how people are harmed by unjust policies makes it more likely that your argument will be heard, understood, and judged credible and relevant by regulators.

If you care about the rules agencies issue that governs everything from worker safety to clean air to payday lending, you’ve probably encountered the idea of cost-benefit analysis. Whether you want to comment on an agency’s proposed rulemaking, meet with congressional staff to discuss the impact of a rule on your community, or otherwise influence the regulatory agenda, you can maximize your impact if you reframe your arguments and strategies in the language of cost-benefit analysis.

As an advocate, you have a competitive advantage when it comes to cost-benefit analysis. You know how regulations play out in real life and how one rule interacts with a host of other laws, regulations, and local social and economic practices. All of this is relevant to determining what the costs and benefits of any given regulation are, and all of it is information regulators often can’t get without your engagement. With the right framing, you can turn your intimate knowledge of your community into a compelling point for the agency to consider.

So where do you begin? How should you frame your arguments? What strategies will make your input effective?

To make this process more accessible for advocates, we’ve drafted Working with Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Advocate, a guide which outlines the main components of cost-benefit analysis and highlights strategies advocates can use when engaging in regulatory advocacy. Working with Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Advocate covers:

  1. Requirements for Agencies: The main points of Executive Order 12,866, which sets forth the basic requirements for cost-benefit analysis for most federal agencies, and some information about how regulatory agencies not governed by EO 12866 may approach cost-benefit analysis.
  2. Common Alternative Approaches for Regulations: A list to help anticipate, address, or support other routes for the agency to take.
  3. Common Considerations in Cost-Benefit Analysis: Definitions and examples of concepts that are frequently used in cost-benefit analysis.
  4. Strategies to Make Cost-Benefit Analysis Work for Advocates: A range of ideas for identifying and sharing relevant and helpful information.

Working with Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Advocate is 7 pages long, written in simple language with examples, and is designed to be accessible for any advocate interested in shaping the rules agencies issue.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Travis, Diane, and Kate

Introducing “Decoding the Unified Agenda:  A Guide for Advocates”

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Decoding the Unified Agenda will help you to decide whether to commit resources and engage with the rulemaking process.

If you’re trying to track what rulemaking federal agencies are doing, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Unified Agenda. Twice a year, the federal government publishes the Unified Agenda, which provides an update on all the rulemaking planned for the next six months across the federal government. If you want to understand or influence the rulemaking process, from the Department of Agriculture to the Surface Transportation Board and all the agencies in between, the Unified Agenda provides essential information on what agencies are doing.

But we know from personal experience that reading the Unified Agenda can sometimes be a baffling experience.

What does it mean when an agency says something is in a pre-rule stage? And how can you tell an essential initiative from one that is just a formality?

We’ve drafted Decoding the Unified Agenda to answer those questions and others, hoping that it will help make your advocacy easier and more effective. Decoding the Unified Agenda will help you to decide whether to commit resources and engage with the rulemaking process. It covers the following topics and “how-tos:”

  1. Identifying Important Issues: How to spot rules in the Unified Agenda that implicate significant matters of policy.
  2. Assessing Your Potential Strategic Contribution: How to determine whether you have access to information, stories, or other data relevant to the potential rulemaking.
  3. Making Your Plans: How to establish the amount of time you have to gather and provide information to the agency.
  4. Pushing Your Agenda: How to move forward if a rulemaking related to your campaign is absent or stalled.

Decoding the Unified Agenda provides a straightforward account of how to figure out what an agency is doing using the Unified Agenda and how to use it to plan your advocacy. Decoding the Unified Agenda is written in plain, simple language, with lots of examples, and headers. At just over 11 pages, we think you should be able to find what you need quickly.

Please check it out, and let us know what you think!

Kate, Nikka, and Diane

 

Why Do Regulatory Advocacy?  


For legal services attorneys and others

If you’re a legal services attorney, as I was for many years, you’ve got more pressing client needs than you can meet.  Your days are full, and there is always another client waiting.  You probably got into the job because you felt a calling, although some days it can be hard to see if you are making a difference.  Injustice abounds, and your tools can feel limited.  This can be true for all kinds of grassroots organizers, social service providers, and advocates—the world is crying out for change and our time and energy is limited.

And, right now, that cry for change and those pressing client needs are more pressing than ever.  COVID-19 has laid bare in the most stark and chilling terms the life-destroying impact that generations of racism, racial inequality, and poverty have had.  African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are all dying at vastly disproportional rates.  We’ve seen violent suppression by the state of legitimate calls to address centuries of oppression.  There is a renewed urgency to our collective work for racial and economic justice.

So, why?  Why do regulatory advocacy?  Rules take forever to get written, and, at the federal level, we are facing an administration bent on removing regulatory protections.  The President’s tweets, if not the agencies’ agendas, indicate implacable hostility to fair housing and fair lending, at least as those terms have been commonly understood. 

Here’s why.  Regulatory advocacy allows us to tap into power.  The work of implementing and maintaining legislative victories happens in the regulatory agencies.  Regulatory agencies set the rules for who can live in public housing, the terms on which hungry children and their families can get food stamps or public assistance, and who can apply for asylum and how.  To take the specific core building blocks of economic justice and access to credit, one agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau controls  the rules about how credit reporting is done, what happens when you can’t pay your mortgage or payday loan, and the terms on which that mortgage or payday loan are made, including whether and how a lender can discriminate against you.  Regulatory advocacy, quite simply, lets us help set the framework in which all the rest of our work and advocacy for justice and equity takes place.

Regulatory advocacy also leverages what we know and do well.   Regulatory agencies are required by law to ask us—all of us—what we think the impacts of their proposed regulations will be and what better approaches to solving the problem exist.  Anyone who works representing legal-services clients will know intimately the impact of laws and regulations on their clients and client communities.  And that detailed, specific, concrete knowledge is exactly what regulators most often struggle to get and are required to consider—if we give it to them.

And here’s why, too.  Remember how I earlier mentioned the racial disparities in death rates from COVID-19?  We only know that because a lot of people did a lot of regulatory advocacy.  Early on, in the pandemic, demographic data collection was spotty.  It wasn’t until June 4 that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services required reporting of demographic data along with COVID-19 test results.  Advocates pressed the government at the county, state, and federal level to collect and release demographic data.  And they were successful.  Having those numbers out there in the public has changed the narrative and enabled further advocacy to address systemic imbalances.

There are always avenues for regulatory advocacy and always a need for regulatory advocacy. If we don’t do the regulatory advocacy, other people will, and the stories they tell will not be the ones we would tell, and the results they get will not reflect the actual lived experiences of our communities. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out on this website a range of documents to try to help support your work in regulatory advocacy.  We hope you’ll subscribe to receive our work and let us know what works for you and what doesn’t.

 

 

Introducing the Consumer Rights Regulatory Engagement and Advocacy Project


Hi!  We’re so glad you found your way here.

Diane Thompson, a former CFPB Deputy Assistant Director for Regulations and a longtime legal services attorney in East St. Louis, Illinois, created this project to fill a gap she saw.  Advocates for communities of color and for low-income communities often focus their advocacy on achieving legislative victories, but the work of implementing and maintaining those victories is carried out at regulatory agencies, where advocates tend to have less engagement.  At the same time, regulatory agencies are mandated by law to be responsive to the public and to take into account the impact on the public of their rules.  What would it take to make agencies live up to this mandate? 

We believe that it is possible for advocates to have a greater impact on regulatory agencies than they do currently, with the right support.  Our goal is to help provide that support, so advocates can engage with regulatory agencies more effectively without detracting from their other mission-critical work.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out short documents to help support regulatory advocacy on behalf of marginalized communities.  We have documents in the pipeline on the Unified Agenda (the federal government-wide listing of upcoming regulatory actions), a one-page check-list on how to comment, working with cost-benefit analysis, and the Congressional Review Act.  We’ve tried to make these documents generic, while bringing to bear our CFPB-specific experience.  We’ve asked other advocates and former regulators to review these documents and incorporated their feedback, in an effort to ensure the materials are both accurate and practical.  We think there is great untapped power in regulatory advocacy for justice and equity, and we hope these documents will help advocates do their essential work better and more easily.

If you subscribe, we’ll send you our blogs and materials as they come out.  And please, let us know what works and what doesn’t.  If there’s something specific you want to see, let us know.  We’re excited to have this chance to work together for change.

 

–The CRREA Project Team (Diane, Kate, Nikka, and Travis)