Will the CFPB redefine “larger”?

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.

Auto industry watchers that formally weighed in on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s definition of “larger” auto lenders took predictable positions before the public comment period closed last week.

The CFPB proposes to extend its jurisdiction to larger nonbanks, which it defines as those that generate 10,000 auto loans or leases annually.

The American Financial Services Association, a national lender trade group, said that’s too low. AFSA recommended a threshold of 50,000 loans or leases, which it said would cover lenders representing 86 percent of the market. AFSA also took issue with the legal technicalities of the CFPB’s definition of leases.

Meanwhile, Consumers Union, the lobbying arm of Consumer Reports magazine, in a comment submitted to the CFPB last week said the proposed threshold is too high. It said the CFPB should define larger participants as 5,000 or more loans or leases annually.

For good measure, several trial lawyers who represent consumers filed comments with the CFPB supporting the bureau’s decision to extend its jurisdiction.

It remains to be seen whether the comments will prompt the CFPB to make any changes. But if both lenders and consumer advocates dislike the proposed threshold, the bureau might reason it’s just about right.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com

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