Integrated Disclosure Deadline Could Be Delayed, Top CFPB Official Says

ORLANDO — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may delay the Aug. 1 implementation deadline for new mortgage disclosure forms if vendors aren't ready, the agency's No. 2 said Wednesday.

"To the extent there is new information or we're hearing directly from vendors that folks aren't going to be ready . . . we should continue to talk about that," said Steven Antonakes, the deputy director of the agency, during remarks at an industry conference in Florida. "I can't promise you [changes] but to the extent we will have a better understanding of the concerns, that is something we will consider."

However, following this article's publication, a CFPB spokesperson sought to walk back Antonakes' comments.

"We have no plans to delay the deadline on the new mortgage disclosure forms. The industry should be prepared to begin using the new forms for loans with an initial application submitted on or after August 1," CFPB spokesman Sam Gilford wrote in an email. "The Deputy Director was pointing out that the Bureau is open to considering new information from stakeholders, not to delaying the deadline."

Antonakes also suggested that he would be open to some changes on the CFPB's complaint portal. The CFPB recently finalized a rule that allows consumers to post detailed accounts of their complaints — a move that came after staunch opposition from the industry.

Part of the industry's concern is that the CFPB allows companies to respond to the complaint but only by picking one of the 9 pre-written answers that the agency allows. There is not an option for the companies to create their own response to be published. This is one area that Antonakes said officials are willing to discuss with the industry.

"We're still open to taking feedback on appropriateness and relevance of those drop-down [response options] and we will go forward and see how it goes. But again, a partnership and relationship is very important to us," he said. "While we have decided to go forward with the narratives, it is a very open process and we will continue improving that process over time."

He ended his speech on a somewhat odd note, asking for people with financial expertise to apply at the CFPB to always "refresh that experience" at the CFPB.

"With that said, I will offer, without apology, that if you are passionate about consumer finance, the best place to work is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," said Antonakes, receiving a laugh from the audience. "I cannot promise you that the experience will be without challenge or frustration, but I can promise you that it will be the most fulfilling work of your career."

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