In April 2024, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) and the Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection of the European Commission (European Commission) announced that three meetings had been convened with senior staff and subject matter experts to discuss “shared priority areas” of concern for consumer financial protection issues.  The CFPB and the European Commission initially announced in July 2023 the start of this “formal dialogue” concerning critical consumer financial protection issues.  CFPB Director Rohit Chopra and European Commissioner Didier Reynders issued a joint statement accompanying the announcement, noting their belief that it is “critical for the U.S. and E.U. to coordinate on the firms, products, consumer trends, and risks that span the Atlantic,” and that their staffs are sharing “expertise, best practices, and lessons learned on an important set of issues.”

The meetings convened between the Bureau and the European Commission covered three primary topics.  First, the parties discussed Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) products and over-indebtedness.  The EU presented a recent study, dated September 2023, regarding European consumers’ over-indebtedness along with data suggesting that such over-indebtedness is slated to increase during the next decade.  The parties also discussed the growth of the BNPL industry in both the U.S. and the European Union, and the evolution of the industry, associated consumer risks, and areas of future planned work.

Second, the CFPB and the European Commission discussed digital payments access and fraud, as well as big tech companies in the consumer finance space.  The European Commission presented the current and proposed regulations concerning the European Union’s open banking framework and recent initiatives designed to stymie fraud in digital payments.  The CFPB, in turn, discussed “the issue of fraud in digital payments in the U.S., the role of nonbanks in payments, and the state of digital access and its impact on the unbanked.”  The parties also addressed issues regarding big tech in finance, specifically big tech’s role in payments.

Third, the parties addressed artificial intelligence in their discussions.  The European Commission discussed legislation directed towards addressing AI, as well as recent judgments interpreting related legal decisions.  The CFPB provided information regarding consumer financial authorities with the ability to “apply to various AI use-cases” and guidance related to AI issues in consumer finance.

The announcement expressly notes that the parties share a commitment to continue their informal dialogue, with bi-annual staff meetings on these and other issues affecting consumer financial protection issues in the U.S. and the E.U.

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