In a development welcomed by industry members, the CFPB published today a “Statement Regarding the Provision of Financial Products and Services to Consumers with Limited English Proficiency.” The Statement is intended to provide “compliance principles and guidelines to inform and assist financial institutions in their decision making related to serving LEP consumers.”
The Statement is divided into two sections. One section contains “guiding principles for serving LEP consumers.” These principles consist of the following:
- The Bureau encourages financial institutions to better serve LEP consumers while ensuring compliance with relevant federal, state, and other legal requirements.
- Financial institutions that wish to implement pilot programs or other phased approaches for offering LEP-consumer-focused products can consider doing so consistent with the Statement’s guidelines.
- Financial institutions can consider developing a variety of compliance approaches related to providing products and services to LEP consumers consistent with the Statement’s guidelines.
- Financial institutions can mitigate certain compliance risks by providing LEP consumers with “clear and timely” disclosures in non-English languages describing the “extent and limits” of any language services provided throughout the product lifecycle.
- Financial institutions may wish to consider extending credit pursuant to a legally compliant special purpose credit program to increase credit access for certain underserved LEP consumers.