Posted October 5, 2017On Oct. 5, 2017, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection issued this final rule to create consumer protections for certain consumer credit products. The rule has two primary parts. First, for short-term and longer-term loans with balloon payments, the Bureau is identifying it as an unfair and abusive practice for a lender to make such loans without reasonably determining that consumers have the ability to repay the loans according to their terms. The rule generally requires that, before making such a loan, a lender must reasonably determine that the consumer has the ability to repay the loan. The Bureau has exempted certain short-term loans from the ability-to-repay determination prescribed in the rule if they are made with certain consumer protections. Second, for the same set of loans and for longer-term loans with an annual percentage rate greater than 36 percent that are repaid directly from the consumer’s account, the rule identifies it as an unfair and abusive practice to attempt to withdraw payment from a consumer’s account after two consecutive payment attempts have failed, unless the lender obtains the consumer’s new and specific authorization to make further withdrawals from the account. The rule also requires lenders to provide certain notices to the consumer before attempting to withdraw payment for a covered loan from the consumer’s account.
The rules won’t go into effect until mid-2019 and are strongly opposed by most Republicans. The five-year term of Cordray, who was appointed by President Obama, expires in July 2018, and he could leave sooner to run for governor in his home state of Ohio. President Trump would nominate a replacement who could move to rescind the rules before they ever go into effect.