As new leadership settles in at the CFPB, the consumer finance industry will follow the agency’s approach to debt collection. The CFPB released an outline in 2016 for a proposal that would overhaul the multibillion-dollar debt collection industry. Among other steps, the outline called for capping collectors' attempts at contacting debtors, making it easier to dispute debt and ensuring that companies collect the proper debt.

"The outline released in the summer of 2016 revealed a rulemaking that was going to be very restrictive and very difficult not only to comply with, but would cripple debt collection in this country, making it very difficult to contact people who owe money. I don't believe the agency will be pursuing a rulemaking in that form in the near future. But that's not to say there isn't a need for a debt collection rulemaking. Private litigation under the [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act] is really a plague right now," said Christopher Willis, a partner at Ballard Spahr.

"There's a great opportunity for a rulemaking to bring clarity to the statute, deal with circuit splits and put a damper on very expensive and unpredictable litigation. I have been telling all my clients that one of their biggest priorities should be to try to get the debt collection rule reoriented toward that goal," he said.

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