Several observers say that while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has applied cautious oversight to payday lenders so far, a number of signs are pointing to new regulations on the horizon for next year.

The agency began taking complaints on payday loans in November, and those complaints will likely be the foundation for enforcement actions and new rules. The CFPB took a similar approach this year toward debt collectors.

“It’s all part of a mosaic that we’ve seen repeated time and time again where the CFPB has taken an interest in a particular industry, the complaint portal opens up, then they start putting together aggregate data about the nature of complaints,” said Alan S. Kaplinsky, who heads the Consumer Financial Services Group at Ballard Spahr. “Eventually, I would anticipate regulations are adopted by the bureau … it’s building up to a crescendo.”

Mr. Kaplinsky added that he expected the CFPB to issue a study on payday lending practices “by mid-next year and then we’ll see an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and then proposed regulation by the end of the year.”

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Consumer Financial Services