The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said two collection rules will go into effect as originally planned on Nov. 30 and declined a plea from consumer advocates to the agency to reopen the rules.
The CFPB announced on Friday that the agency no longer plans to extend the validity dates to January 29, 2022 as previously proposed. The agency had considered giving more time to weigh concerns from consumer groups that Trump-era rules were too weak. However, the reopening of the regulations has legal issues, the office said.
"While consumer advocate commentators generally advocated an extension of the entry into force, they did not focus on whether additional time would be required to implement the regulations," the CFPB said in a press release. "A revision of the regulations was outside the scope of [reference to the proposed regulation] and could raise concerns under the Administrative Procedure Act."
The final collection rules limit the number of times a collection agency can call a borrower to seven calls per week, but allow unlimited contact via voicemail, email, and text messages.
Consumer advocates opposed the latter provision, saying that consumers should be able to opt for unlimited electronic communications. Consumers can unsubscribe at any time.
"They're leaving the rules unchanged, which I think is a big win for the industry," said Joann Needleman, a director of Clark Hill's consumer financial services regulatory group.
The CFPB's first collection rule, appointed in October by former CFPB director Kathy Kraninger, one of Trump's appointments, focused on text and email and updated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
A second rule clarified what information collection companies must provide consumers with at the beginning of a correspondence, and prohibits collection companies from suing or threatening consumers because of statute-barred debts. The second rule also requires collection agencies to take certain steps to disclose the existence of a debt to consumers before reporting information about the debt to a consumer reporting agency.
The CFPB reaffirmed that it can consider changes to both rules at any time.
"Nothing in this decision prevents the CFPB from reconsidering the collection rules at a later date," the office said.