WASHINGTON (11/8/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Monday said it plans to give individuals and institutions that will be subject to potential agency action an "early warning" before legal or regulatory proceedings are taken.
The suspected offenders would be allowed to provide "any relevant legal or policy arguments and facts," in writing, within 14 days of the notice, the CFPB said.
The early warning notice process allows the subject of an investigation to respond to any potential legal violations that CFPB enforcement staff believe have been committed before the CFPB ultimately decides whether to begin legal action, the agency said in a release. Specifically, the CFPB said its Office of Enforcement would first explain to individuals or firms "that evidence gathered in a CFPB investigation indicates they have violated consumer financial protection laws."
De facto CFPB leader Raj Date said the early warning notice process "strikes a balance between the goal of fairness to those being investigated and [the CFPB's] mission to protect consumers." The process is modeled on procedures that have been implemented at other federal agencies, the CFPB added.
The CFPB stressed that these early warning notices are discretionary in nature, are not required by law, and may not be given in all situations, adding that they may not be used in cases of ongoing fraud or in instances where the CFPB needs to act quickly.
For the full CFPB release, use the resource link.