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The Section 1071 Small Business Lending Data Collection Rule

posted by Adam Levitin

The Senate voted 53-44 to overturn the CFPB's section 1071 small business lending data collection rule under the Congressional Review Act. If the House can ever function, I'd expect that there are the votes there too to overturn the rulemaking, but it's all sort of a show given that President Biden is threatening a veto and there aren't the votes to override a veto.

So three thoughts on this. First, doing a CRA resolution that has no chance of passing is a huge waste of the most precious commodity in DC, namely Senate floor time. But perhaps that is the point. More time on CRA resolutions, less time available for confirming judges, etc. I'm surprised we don't see continuous filing of CRA resolutions as itself a delay tactic in the Senate.

Second, imagine for a second that the CRA resolution passed. The CFPB would be precluded from promulgating another rule that is "substantially the same" without new Congressional authorization. But section 1071 would still stand. Is there any way the CFPB could do any data collection rule that is not "substantially the same," in terms of requiring production by small business lenders of data about the borrowers and loans? If so, then it suggests that "substantially the same" must actually be quite narrowly construed (e.g., if rule 1.0 asked about LTV and rule 2.0 did not, they are not "substantially the same"), which has important implications for the CFPB's ability to undertake a new arbitration rulemaking.

Third, assuming that the resolution fails, we will then have data collection regimes for mortgages and small business loans. That data is important for monitoring against discriminatory lending. Doesn't it seem strange to limit the data collection to just those markets? Why not extend it to the most obvious market, where there have long been concerns about discriminatory lending, namely auto lending, as some have previously suggested?

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