Year-end 2015 offers an opportunity to revisit and update the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) report, issued last July, summarizing its supervisory and enforcement activities.  The report encompassed the period since the CFPB’s inception.  It addressed the confidential supervision process, including self-reported violations, as well as public enforcement actions.  The report also grouped enforcement actions by the financial institution’s line of business -- such as credit cards, mortgages or auto lending – rather than by the violation that the financial institution was alleged to have committed.

Our current focus, in considering CFPB enforcement data, is more modest – year-on-year variations in the aggregate numbers of public enforcement actions involving allegations of unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAPs) under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA), including full-year numbers for 2015.  (To better understand the CFPB’s interpretation and exercise of its UDAAP enforcement authority, we also maintain a database of such actions and help prepare semi-annual surveys of them.)

Selected year-on-year data appears below. First, as context, we present data on CFPB public enforcement actions not limited to those involving UDAAP allegations.  (Any analysis of these data, as well as of those in the subsequent tables, should be tempered by consideration of the relatively small sample sizes.)

Volume of CFPB Enforcement Actions chart

The CFPB filed 56 enforcement actions in 2015, compared to 31 in 2014, an 81% increase.

Volume of CFPB UDAAP Enforcement Actions chart

The CFPB filed 42 enforcement actions involving UDAAP allegations, compared to 24 in 2014, a 75% increase.

UDAAP vs. Non-UDAAP chart

75% of the CFPB’s enforcement actions involved alleged UDAAP violations in 2015, compared to 77% in 2014.

CFPB Litigated Enforcement Actions chart

The CFPB filed 13 actions through contested litigation, compared to 9 such actions in 2014, a 44% increase.

UDAAP: Litigated Actions vs. Settled Actions chart

The CFPB litigated 12 contested UDAAP enforcement actions in 2015, compared to 9 in 2014, a 33% increase. The CFPB settled 30 enforcement actions involving UDAAP allegations in 2015, compared to 15 in 2014, a 100% increase.

We hope these data are useful, and we look forward to the different methodologies that others may offer. We will report further on these matters as events warrant.