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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 22, 2019.
Consumers First Act
This bill revises provisions related to the administration of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
(Sec. 3) The bill amends all statutory references to the "Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection" to refer instead to the "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."
(Sec. 5) Specified units, offices, and boards of the CFPB must perform their assigned duties and may not be renamed or reorganized. The bill establishes requirements for staffing levels, political appointees, and the publication of consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products or services.
The bill reinstates specified agreements between the CFPB and the Department of Education regarding the sharing of information and oversight related to federal student loans.
The CFPB rule regarding the use of arbitration agreements in contracts for specific consumer financial products and services is reinstated. This rule prohibits the use of a predispute arbitration agreement to prevent a consumer from filing or participating in certain class action suits. The rule also requires consumer financial product and service providers to furnish the CFPB with particular information regarding arbitrations.
(Sec. 6) The bill specifically states the duties of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (under current law, these are delegated by the CFPB Director). It also adds the duty to implement enforcement and supervisory authority regarding the fair lending laws.
The Office of Students and Young Consumers is established in the CFPB.
(Sec. 7) Membership requirements for the Consumer Advisory Board are revised, including by requiring representatives of service members and veterans. Board meeting requirements are also revised, including by requiring in person meetings and extending the terms of certain board members.
(Sec. 8) The bill also decreases the cap on the surplus funds of the Federal Reserve banks. (Amounts exceeding this cap are deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.)
(Sec. 9) The bill revises the required public disclosures made by a depository institution or a credit union regarding mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Specifically, institutions originating fewer than 500 mortgage loans or open-end lines of credit are no longer exempt from certain financial reporting.
(Sec. 10) The bill limits available exemptions from certain housing mortgage disclosures and prohibits the CFPB from modifying or discontinuing certain mortgage reporting tools.
(Sec. 13) The CFPB must report monthly on fair lending investigations and enforcement actions.
(Sec. 14) The CFPB must report quarterly on debt collection complaints and enforcement actions.
(Sec. 15) The bill provides for free annual consumer credit scores.
(Sec. 16) The CFPB must report annually on consumer complaints by senior consumers and provide recommendations to improve protections for these consumers.
(Sec. 17) The CFPB must report quarterly on payday loan and car title loan investigations and enforcement actions.