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US financial watchdog announces registry of nonbank corporate offenders

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(Reuters) – The U.S. consumer financial watchdog agency on Monday announced the creation of a public database to identify nonbank financial companies caught violating consumer laws, saying it would help catch and deter corporate repeat offenders.

New regulations require debt collectors, mortgage and payday lenders, credit reporting companies and other nonbank financial services companies, many of which are not otherwise registered or licensed, to inform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of actions taken against them at the federal, state and local level, the agency said.

“Too many American families and businesses have been harmed by repeat offenders in a rinse repeat cycle of illegal activity where bad actors see fines and penalties as just the cost of doing business,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra told reporters.

“The registry is going to help the CFPB and other law enforcement agencies monitor and track repeat offenders in order to better hold them accountable if they break the law.”

CFPB officials say the new registry, first proposed in late 2022, continues an agency push to fight corporate recidivism following the creation that year of a Repeat Offender Unit within its supervision program.

The database will be partly available to the public online and should also be used by state attorneys general and other regulators as well as investors and creditors performing due diligence, according to the agency statement.

Agency officials said on Monday that they modified their original proposal in light of some industry feedback. For example, companies that already have enforcement actions recorded in a nationwide licensing system for nonbank mortgage lenders will be able to use a simplified filing process.

However, trade organizations also objected to provisions that appear to remain in the new regulation, including a requirement for senior executives to attest in writing that a given company is in compliance with existing court orders and enforcement actions.

The Electronic Transactions Association, members of which include Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), last year urged the CFPB to allow appeals and de-listing, but bureau officials said on Monday they had not instituted such procedures.

The first corporate registrations are expected in January of 2025.

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