One key process that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been using, and encouraging companies to use, is self-reporting. Self-reporting is not new nor is it isolated to the CFPB. It is a common enforcement option or tactic. Theoretically, a company that comes to an agency and asks questions and reports on conduct issues, even by unauthorized employees, may receive better treatment than one who is "caught". Often, even if the company did not authorize the actions in question, it might still be liable for employing the person who took those actions. The CFPB has had a very active enforcement agenda when it comes to mortgage lenders, builders and housing providers.
About 15 months ago, the CFPB issued its self-reporting procedures
. Since then, CFPB has publicly stated that five companies offered assistance. As discussed in the October 20th edition of the National Law Journal (pp.1, 13), the result of cooperation was $83,000 civil penalty for one company and $500,000 order for mortgage disclosure violations for another company. Those well may be very positive results, depending on the exact facts discussed. Clearly, the goal is, or should be, to strike a fair balance between enforcement for the public benefit and not unduly punishing the companies that come forward.