CFPB eyes account access, statement fees in new guidance

As part of a broader Biden administration announcement today on consumer fees, the CFPB will issue guidance interpreting a statutory requirement for large financial institutions to provide information when requested by consumers.

Section 1034(c) of the Dodd-Frank Act requires, with certain exceptions, institutions supervised by the CFPB to “in a timely manner comply with a consumer request for information in the control or possession of such covered person concerning the consumer financial product or service that the consumer obtained from such covered person, including supporting written documentation, concerning the account of the consumer.”

While the statutory text says nothing about fees, the bureau said it would interpret the statute to limit “unreasonable obstacles on customers, such as charging excessive fees, for basic information about their own accounts.” According to a White House statement, the CFPB’s guidance would “[mean]no more fees for basic services like checking bank account balances, obtaining a payoff amount for a loan, or getting account information needed for applications.”

The bureau added that it will not pursue monetary relief for violations of its interpretation of Section 1034(c) prior to Feb. 1, 2024. ABA is closely reviewing the advisory opinion to discern whether it aligns with appropriate administrative procedures and the relevant statutes.