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podcast

UDAAP – Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices

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UDAAP - what you need to know.

Learn why Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices are an area of intense focus for third-party risk regulators right now.

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Podcast Transcript

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Hi I'm Branan Cooper, I’m the Chief Risk Officer here at Venminder. And welcome to Third Party Thursday.

Today we are going to talk a little bit about UDAAP - Unfair, Deceptive, Abusive Acts and Practices.

This is an area of intense focus by regulators right now. Since the creation of the CFPB there’s been a great deal of attention given to consumer complaints. CFPB made early marks through its creation of a complaints database. The tracking has been a real sore spot between the regulatory authority and the institution since there’s not the attention given by the CFPB to do any pre-validation of the complaints merit.

Stemming from those complaints are often investigations and resulting enforcement actions when they determine their issues that have caused consumer confusion or harm. Misunderstood fees, difficult to cancel add on products, misleading terms and disregarding complaints all have given rise to enforcement actions. Often times the CFPB will site “abusive” practices on the part of the financial institution. The term abuse was added to a term already existing, UDAP – Unfair, Deceptive, Acts or Practices, when the CFPB was created. However, in the half dozen years of the agencies existence the term abusive has never been fully defined. The CFPB is often reported as creating guidance through enforcement actions rather than through concrete standards.

The concept of "we can’t define it but we know it when we see it" gives very little comfort to compliance officers or third party risk managers. So what does one do? I believe until and if abusive is clearly defined each compliance officer or third party risk manager needs to carefully analyze all the practices and products through the lenses of the regulator and the customer looking for anything that could be perceived as confusing or injurious to the customer.

Fees and products need to be clearly described in layman's terms and cancellation requirements need to be crystal clear. There needs to be great attention given to thoroughly investigating, resolving and removing the cause of complaints. Monitoring the actions of your third parties, setting and enforcing firm requirements around additional products, the imposition of fees and the management of complaints must be in the contract standards. After all, UDAAP is troubling and the focus is only growing with each enforcement action.

Again, I'm Branan and thank you for listening! Don't forget to subscribe to the Third Party Thursday series.

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