January 9, 2012
Authored by: Bryan Cave
The CFPB recently issued guidance on the treatment of confidential supervisory information. CFPB Bulletin 12-01 states that once the bureau issues a request for information, supervised financial institutions (i.e., those with total assets of more than $10 billion) are required to provide all documents and other information responsive to the request. The bulletin adds:
Supervised institutions may not selectively withhold responsive documents based on their judgment that such materials are not necessary to the Bureau’s execution of its responsibilities or that other materials would be sufficient to suit the Bureau’s needs. The supervisory process is based on the supervisor’s full and unfettered access to information, and the supervisor is entitled – indeed, duty bound–to ensure that it thoroughly understands the institution in question and has access to all information that, in its independent judgment, may bear on its supervisory responsibilities.
The Bulletin argues that providing requested information to the bureau will not result in a waiver of any privilege that may attach to such information, and thus it will not consider waiver concerns to be a valid basis for withholding information from the agency. However, the agency will give “due consideration to … requests to limit the form and scope of any supervisory request for privileged information.”
Finally, the Bulletin reiterates that all information obtained in the supervisory process will be treated as confidential and privileged, other than in cases when the exchange of such information with other regulators that share supervisory jurisdiction over a supervised institution is prudent, as determined by the CFPB’s general counsel.