Last week, the CFPB announced that it will hold a symposium on Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) on November 6, 2019. This will be the third in a series of symposia held by the CFPB. Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) to require financial institutions to collect, report, and make public information about credit applications made by women- and minority-owned businesses and small businesses. The CFPB is responsible for drafting rules to implement Section 1071, but, other than issuing a Request for Information in 2017, has not yet taken significant steps to meet this statutory requirement. The stated purpose of the symposium is to hear various perspectives on the small business lending marketplace and CFPB’s implementation of Section 1071. The CFPB had moved the Section 1071 rulemaking to long-term status, but indicated in its Spring 2019 rulemaking agenda that it expected to resume pre-rulemaking activities. With this symposium, the CFPB appears to be (re)starting those activities.

Once Section 1071 is implemented, institutions will be required to collect information regarding the race, sex, and ethnicity of the principal owners of small businesses and women- and minority-owned businesses. Applicants have the right to refuse to provide required information. Financial institutions must retain required demographic information and submit it to the CFPB.
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Small Rural CreditorsOn March 3, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) promulgated a rule (“the Rule”) establishing a process for the public to request additional areas to be recognized as “rural” areas for purposes of federal consumer financial laws.  The designation of an area as “rural” provides relief for creditors in those areas from certain requirements under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) and its implementing Regulation Z, as explained below.  Under the Rule, a person may submit an application to the CFPB for recognition of a new area as “rural” for those purposes.  The Rule thus has the potential to open new avenues for small rural creditors to extend certain mortgage loans to their communities.
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