[USC02] 12 USC CHAPTER 53, SUBCHAPTER V, Part E: Enforcement Powers
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TEXT OF PART V OF SUBTITLE A (3001 ET SEQ.), EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022, CURRENTLY SET OUT AS A PREVIEW

12 USC CHAPTER 53, SUBCHAPTER V, Part E: Enforcement Powers
From Title 12—BANKS AND BANKINGCHAPTER 53—WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTIONSUBCHAPTER V—BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION

Part E—Enforcement Powers

§5561. Definitions

For purposes of this part, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Bureau investigation

The term "Bureau investigation" means any inquiry conducted by a Bureau investigator for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is or has been engaged in any conduct that is a violation, as defined in this section.

(2) Bureau investigator

The term "Bureau investigator" means any attorney or investigator employed by the Bureau who is charged with the duty of enforcing or carrying into effect any Federal consumer financial law.

(3) Custodian

The term "custodian" means the custodian or any deputy custodian designated by the Bureau.

(4) Documentary material

The term "documentary material" includes the original or any copy of any book, document, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, chart, logs, electronic files, or other data or data compilations stored in any medium.

(5) Violation

The term "violation" means any act or omission that, if proved, would constitute a violation of any provision of Federal consumer financial law.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1051, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2018.)


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1058, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2035, provided that: "This subtitle [subtitle E (§§1051–1058), enacting this part] shall become effective on the designated transfer date."

[The term "designated transfer date" is defined in section 5481(9) of this title as the date established under section 5582 of this title.]

§5562. Investigations and administrative discovery

(a) Joint investigations

(1) In general

The Bureau or, where appropriate, a Bureau investigator, may engage in joint investigations and requests for information, as authorized under this title.1

(2) Fair lending

The authority under paragraph (1) includes matters relating to fair lending, and where appropriate, joint investigations with, and requests for information from, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Attorney General of the United States, or both.

(b) Subpoenas

(1) In general

The Bureau or a Bureau investigator may issue subpoenas for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant papers, books, documents, or other material in connection with hearings under this title.1

(2) Failure to obey

In the case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued pursuant to this paragraph and served upon any person, the district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found, resides, or transacts business, upon application by the Bureau or a Bureau investigator and after notice to such person, may issue an order requiring such person to appear and give testimony or to appear and produce documents or other material.

(3) Contempt

Any failure to obey an order of the court under this subsection may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.

(c) Demands

(1) In general

Whenever the Bureau has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary material or tangible things, or may have any information, relevant to a violation, the Bureau may, before the institution of any proceedings under the Federal consumer financial law, issue in writing, and cause to be served upon such person, a civil investigative demand requiring such person to—

(A) produce such documentary material for inspection and copying or reproduction in the form or medium requested by the Bureau;

(B) submit such tangible things;

(C) file written reports or answers to questions;

(D) give oral testimony concerning documentary material, tangible things, or other information; or

(E) furnish any combination of such material, answers, or testimony.

(2) Requirements

Each civil investigative demand shall state the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged violation which is under investigation and the provision of law applicable to such violation.

(3) Production of documents

Each civil investigative demand for the production of documentary material shall—

(A) describe each class of documentary material to be produced under the demand with such definiteness and certainty as to permit such material to be fairly identified;

(B) prescribe a return date or dates which will provide a reasonable period of time within which the material so demanded may be assembled and made available for inspection and copying or reproduction; and

(C) identify the custodian to whom such material shall be made available.

(4) Production of things

Each civil investigative demand for the submission of tangible things shall—

(A) describe each class of tangible things to be submitted under the demand with such definiteness and certainty as to permit such things to be fairly identified;

(B) prescribe a return date or dates which will provide a reasonable period of time within which the things so demanded may be assembled and submitted; and

(C) identify the custodian to whom such things shall be submitted.

(5) Demand for written reports or answers

Each civil investigative demand for written reports or answers to questions shall—

(A) propound with definiteness and certainty the reports to be produced or the questions to be answered;

(B) prescribe a date or dates at which time written reports or answers to questions shall be submitted; and

(C) identify the custodian to whom such reports or answers shall be submitted.

(6) Oral testimony

Each civil investigative demand for the giving of oral testimony shall—

(A) prescribe a date, time, and place at which oral testimony shall be commenced; and

(B) identify a Bureau investigator who shall conduct the investigation and the custodian to whom the transcript of such investigation shall be submitted.

(7) Service

Any civil investigative demand issued, and any enforcement petition filed, under this section may be served—

(A) by any Bureau investigator at any place within the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States; and

(B) upon any person who is not found within the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States—

(i) in such manner as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prescribe for service in a foreign nation; and

(ii) to the extent that the courts of the United States have authority to assert jurisdiction over such person, consistent with due process, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have the same jurisdiction to take any action respecting compliance with this section by such person that such district court would have if such person were personally within the jurisdiction of such district court.

(8) Method of service

Service of any civil investigative demand or any enforcement petition filed under this section may be made upon a person, including any legal entity, by—

(A) delivering a duly executed copy of such demand or petition to the individual or to any partner, executive officer, managing agent, or general agent of such person, or to any agent of such person authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process on behalf of such person;

(B) delivering a duly executed copy of such demand or petition to the principal office or place of business of the person to be served; or

(C) depositing a duly executed copy in the United States mails, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, duly addressed to such person at the principal office or place of business of such person.

(9) Proof of service

(A) In general

A verified return by the individual serving any civil investigative demand or any enforcement petition filed under this section setting forth the manner of such service shall be proof of such service.

(B) Return receipts

In the case of service by registered or certified mail, such return shall be accompanied by the return post office receipt of delivery of such demand or enforcement petition.

(10) Production of documentary material

The production of documentary material in response to a civil investigative demand shall be made under a sworn certificate, in such form as the demand designates, by the person, if a natural person, to whom the demand is directed or, if not a natural person, by any person having knowledge of the facts and circumstances relating to such production, to the effect that all of the documentary material required by the demand and in the possession, custody, or control of the person to whom the demand is directed has been produced and made available to the custodian.

(11) Submission of tangible things

The submission of tangible things in response to a civil investigative demand shall be made under a sworn certificate, in such form as the demand designates, by the person to whom the demand is directed or, if not a natural person, by any person having knowledge of the facts and circumstances relating to such production, to the effect that all of the tangible things required by the demand and in the possession, custody, or control of the person to whom the demand is directed have been submitted to the custodian.

(12) Separate answers

Each reporting requirement or question in a civil investigative demand shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for the objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer, and it shall be submitted under a sworn certificate, in such form as the demand designates, by the person, if a natural person, to whom the demand is directed or, if not a natural person, by any person responsible for answering each reporting requirement or question, to the effect that all information required by the demand and in the possession, custody, control, or knowledge of the person to whom the demand is directed has been submitted.

(13) Testimony

(A) In general

(i) Oath and recordation

The examination of any person pursuant to a demand for oral testimony served under this subsection shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths and affirmations by the laws of the United States or of the place at which the examination is held. The officer before whom oral testimony is to be taken shall put the witness on oath or affirmation and shall personally, or by any individual acting under the direction of and in the presence of the officer, record the testimony of the witness.

(ii) Transcription

The testimony shall be taken stenographically and transcribed.

(iii) Transmission to custodian

After the testimony is fully transcribed, the officer investigator before whom the testimony is taken shall promptly transmit a copy of the transcript of the testimony to the custodian.

(B) Parties present

Any Bureau investigator before whom oral testimony is to be taken shall exclude from the place where the testimony is to be taken all other persons, except the person giving the testimony, the attorney for that person, the officer before whom the testimony is to be taken, an investigator or representative of an agency with which the Bureau is engaged in a joint investigation, and any stenographer taking such testimony.

(C) Location

The oral testimony of any person taken pursuant to a civil investigative demand shall be taken in the judicial district of the United States in which such person resides, is found, or transacts business, or in such other place as may be agreed upon by the Bureau investigator before whom the oral testimony of such person is to be taken and such person.

(D) Attorney representation

(i) In general

Any person compelled to appear under a civil investigative demand for oral testimony pursuant to this section may be accompanied, represented, and advised by an attorney.

(ii) Authority

The attorney may advise a person described in clause (i), in confidence, either upon the request of such person or upon the initiative of the attorney, with respect to any question asked of such person.

(iii) Objections

A person described in clause (i), or the attorney for that person, may object on the record to any question, in whole or in part, and such person shall briefly state for the record the reason for the objection. An objection may properly be made, received, and entered upon the record when it is claimed that such person is entitled to refuse to answer the question on grounds of any constitutional or other legal right or privilege, including the privilege against self-incrimination, but such person shall not otherwise object to or refuse to answer any question, and such person or attorney shall not otherwise interrupt the oral examination.

(iv) Refusal to answer

If a person described in clause (i) refuses to answer any question—

(I) the Bureau may petition the district court of the United States pursuant to this section for an order compelling such person to answer such question; and

(II) if the refusal is on grounds of the privilege against self-incrimination, the testimony of such person may be compelled in accordance with the provisions of section 6004 of title 18.

(E) Transcripts

For purposes of this subsection—

(i) after the testimony of any witness is fully transcribed, the Bureau investigator shall afford the witness (who may be accompanied by an attorney) a reasonable opportunity to examine the transcript;

(ii) the transcript shall be read to or by the witness, unless such examination and reading are waived by the witness;

(iii) any changes in form or substance which the witness desires to make shall be entered and identified upon the transcript by the Bureau investigator, with a statement of the reasons given by the witness for making such changes;

(iv) the transcript shall be signed by the witness, unless the witness in writing waives the signing, is ill, cannot be found, or refuses to sign; and

(v) if the transcript is not signed by the witness during the 30-day period following the date on which the witness is first afforded a reasonable opportunity to examine the transcript, the Bureau investigator shall sign the transcript and state on the record the fact of the waiver, illness, absence of the witness, or the refusal to sign, together with any reasons given for the failure to sign.

(F) Certification by investigator

The Bureau investigator shall certify on the transcript that the witness was duly sworn by him or her and that the transcript is a true record of the testimony given by the witness, and the Bureau investigator shall promptly deliver the transcript or send it by registered or certified mail to the custodian.

(G) Copy of transcript

The Bureau investigator shall furnish a copy of the transcript (upon payment of reasonable charges for the transcript) to the witness only, except that the Bureau may for good cause limit such witness to inspection of the official transcript of his testimony.

(H) Witness fees

Any witness appearing for the taking of oral testimony pursuant to a civil investigative demand shall be entitled to the same fees and mileage which are paid to witnesses in the district courts of the United States.

(d) Confidential treatment of demand material

(1) In general

Documentary materials and tangible things received as a result of a civil investigative demand shall be subject to requirements and procedures regarding confidentiality, in accordance with rules established by the Bureau.

(2) Disclosure to Congress

No rule established by the Bureau regarding the confidentiality of materials submitted to, or otherwise obtained by, the Bureau shall be intended to prevent disclosure to either House of Congress or to an appropriate committee of the Congress, except that the Bureau is permitted to adopt rules allowing prior notice to any party that owns or otherwise provided the material to the Bureau and had designated such material as confidential.

(e) Petition for enforcement

(1) In general

Whenever any person fails to comply with any civil investigative demand duly served upon him under this section, or whenever satisfactory copying or reproduction of material requested pursuant to the demand cannot be accomplished and such person refuses to surrender such material, the Bureau, through such officers or attorneys as it may designate, may file, in the district court of the United States for any judicial district in which such person resides, is found, or transacts business, and serve upon such person, a petition for an order of such court for the enforcement of this section.

(2) Service of process

All process of any court to which application may be made as provided in this subsection may be served in any judicial district.

(f) Petition for order modifying or setting aside demand

(1) In general

Not later than 20 days after the service of any civil investigative demand upon any person under subsection (b), or at any time before the return date specified in the demand, whichever period is shorter, or within such period exceeding 20 days after service or in excess of such return date as may be prescribed in writing, subsequent to service, by any Bureau investigator named in the demand, such person may file with the Bureau a petition for an order by the Bureau modifying or setting aside the demand.

(2) Compliance during pendency

The time permitted for compliance with the demand in whole or in part, as determined proper and ordered by the Bureau, shall not run during the pendency of a petition under paragraph (1) at the Bureau, except that such person shall comply with any portions of the demand not sought to be modified or set aside.

(3) Specific grounds

A petition under paragraph (1) shall specify each ground upon which the petitioner relies in seeking relief, and may be based upon any failure of the demand to comply with the provisions of this section, or upon any constitutional or other legal right or privilege of such person.

(g) Custodial control

At any time during which any custodian is in custody or control of any documentary material, tangible things, reports, answers to questions, or transcripts of oral testimony given by any person in compliance with any civil investigative demand, such person may file, in the district court of the United States for the judicial district within which the office of such custodian is situated, and serve upon such custodian, a petition for an order of such court requiring the performance by such custodian of any duty imposed upon him by this section or rule promulgated by the Bureau.

(h) Jurisdiction of court

(1) In general

Whenever any petition is filed in any district court of the United States under this section, such court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter so presented, and to enter such order or orders as may be required to carry out the provisions of this section.

(2) Appeal

Any final order entered as described in paragraph (1) shall be subject to appeal pursuant to section 1291 of title 28.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1052, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2019.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This title, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1) and (b)(1), is title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1955, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, which enacted this subchapter and enacted, amended, and repealed numerous other sections and notes in the Code. For complete classification of title X to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 5301 of this title and Tables.


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§5563. Hearings and adjudication proceedings

(a) In general

The Bureau is authorized to conduct hearings and adjudication proceedings with respect to any person in the manner prescribed by chapter 5 of title 5 in order to ensure or enforce compliance with—

(1) the provisions of this title,1 including any rules prescribed by the Bureau under this title; 1 and

(2) any other Federal law that the Bureau is authorized to enforce, including an enumerated consumer law, and any regulations or order prescribed thereunder, unless such Federal law specifically limits the Bureau from conducting a hearing or adjudication proceeding and only to the extent of such limitation.

(b) Special rules for cease-and-desist proceedings

(1) Orders authorized

(A) In general

If, in the opinion of the Bureau, any covered person or service provider is engaging or has engaged in an activity that violates a law, rule, or any condition imposed in writing on the person by the Bureau, the Bureau may, subject to sections 5514, 5515, and 5516 of this title, issue and serve upon the covered person or service provider a notice of charges in respect thereof.

(B) Content of notice

The notice under subparagraph (A) shall contain a statement of the facts constituting the alleged violation or violations, and shall fix a time and place at which a hearing will be held to determine whether an order to cease and desist should issue against the covered person or service provider, such hearing to be held not earlier than 30 days nor later than 60 days after the date of service of such notice, unless an earlier or a later date is set by the Bureau, at the request of any party so served.

(C) Consent

Unless the party or parties served under subparagraph (B) appear at the hearing personally or by a duly authorized representative, such person shall be deemed to have consented to the issuance of the cease-and-desist order.

(D) Procedure

In the event of consent under subparagraph (C), or if, upon the record, made at any such hearing, the Bureau finds that any violation specified in the notice of charges has been established, the Bureau may issue and serve upon the covered person or service provider an order to cease and desist from the violation or practice. Such order may, by provisions which may be mandatory or otherwise, require the covered person or service provider to cease and desist from the subject activity, and to take affirmative action to correct the conditions resulting from any such violation.

(2) Effectiveness of order

A cease-and-desist order shall become effective at the expiration of 30 days after the date of service of an order under paragraph (1) upon the covered person or service provider concerned (except in the case of a cease-and-desist order issued upon consent, which shall become effective at the time specified therein), and shall remain effective and enforceable as provided therein, except to such extent as the order is stayed, modified, terminated, or set aside by action of the Bureau or a reviewing court.

(3) Decision and appeal

Any hearing provided for in this subsection shall be held in the Federal judicial district or in the territory in which the residence or principal office or place of business of the person is located unless the person consents to another place, and shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5. After such hearing, and within 90 days after the Bureau has notified the parties that the case has been submitted to the Bureau for final decision, the Bureau shall render its decision (which shall include findings of fact upon which its decision is predicated) and shall issue and serve upon each party to the proceeding an order or orders consistent with the provisions of this section. Judicial review of any such order shall be exclusively as provided in this subsection. Unless a petition for review is timely filed in a court of appeals of the United States, as provided in paragraph (4), and thereafter until the record in the proceeding has been filed as provided in paragraph (4), the Bureau may at any time, upon such notice and in such manner as the Bureau shall determine proper, modify, terminate, or set aside any such order. Upon filing of the record as provided, the Bureau may modify, terminate, or set aside any such order with permission of the court.

(4) Appeal to court of appeals

Any party to any proceeding under this subsection may obtain a review of any order served pursuant to this subsection (other than an order issued with the consent of the person concerned) by the filing in the court of appeals of the United States for the circuit in which the principal office of the covered person is located, or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, within 30 days after the date of service of such order, a written petition praying that the order of the Bureau be modified, terminated, or set aside. A copy of such petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the Bureau, and thereupon the Bureau shall file in the court the record in the proceeding, as provided in section 2112 of title 28. Upon the filing of such petition, such court shall have jurisdiction, which upon the filing of the record shall except as provided in the last sentence of paragraph (3) be exclusive, to affirm, modify, terminate, or set aside, in whole or in part, the order of the Bureau. Review of such proceedings shall be had as provided in chapter 7 of title 5. The judgment and decree of the court shall be final, except that the same shall be subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States, upon certiorari, as provided in section 1254 of title 28.

(5) No stay

The commencement of proceedings for judicial review under paragraph (4) shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of any order issued by the Bureau.

(c) Special rules for temporary cease-and-desist proceedings

(1) In general

Whenever the Bureau determines that the violation specified in the notice of charges served upon a person, including a service provider, pursuant to subsection (b), or the continuation thereof, is likely to cause the person to be insolvent or otherwise prejudice the interests of consumers before the completion of the proceedings conducted pursuant to subsection (b), the Bureau may issue a temporary order requiring the person to cease and desist from any such violation or practice and to take affirmative action to prevent or remedy such insolvency or other condition pending completion of such proceedings. Such order may include any requirement authorized under this part. Such order shall become effective upon service upon the person and, unless set aside, limited, or suspended by a court in proceedings authorized by paragraph (2), shall remain effective and enforceable pending the completion of the administrative proceedings pursuant to such notice and until such time as the Bureau shall dismiss the charges specified in such notice, or if a cease-and-desist order is issued against the person, until the effective date of such order.

(2) Appeal

Not later than 10 days after the covered person or service provider concerned has been served with a temporary cease-and-desist order, the person may apply to the United States district court for the judicial district in which the residence or principal office or place of business of the person is located, or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, for an injunction setting aside, limiting, or suspending the enforcement, operation, or effectiveness of such order pending the completion of the administrative proceedings pursuant to the notice of charges served upon the person under subsection (b), and such court shall have jurisdiction to issue such injunction.

(3) Incomplete or inaccurate records

(A) Temporary order

If a notice of charges served under subsection (b) specifies, on the basis of particular facts and circumstances, that the books and records of a covered person or service provider are so incomplete or inaccurate that the Bureau is unable to determine the financial condition of that person or the details or purpose of any transaction or transactions that may have a material effect on the financial condition of that person, the Bureau may issue a temporary order requiring—

(i) the cessation of any activity or practice which gave rise, whether in whole or in part, to the incomplete or inaccurate state of the books or records; or

(ii) affirmative action to restore such books or records to a complete and accurate state, until the completion of the proceedings under subsection (b)(1).

(B) Effective period

Any temporary order issued under subparagraph (A)—

(i) shall become effective upon service; and

(ii) unless set aside, limited, or suspended by a court in proceedings under paragraph (2), shall remain in effect and enforceable until the earlier of—

(I) the completion of the proceeding initiated under subsection (b) in connection with the notice of charges; or

(II) the date the Bureau determines, by examination or otherwise, that the books and records of the covered person or service provider are accurate and reflect the financial condition thereof.

(d) Special rules for enforcement of orders

(1) In general

The Bureau may in its discretion apply to the United States district court within the jurisdiction of which the principal office or place of business of the person is located, for the enforcement of any effective and outstanding notice or order issued under this section, and such court shall have jurisdiction and power to order and require compliance herewith.

(2) Exception

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no court shall have jurisdiction to affect by injunction or otherwise the issuance or enforcement of any notice or order or to review, modify, suspend, terminate, or set aside any such notice or order.

(e) Rules

The Bureau shall prescribe rules establishing such procedures as may be necessary to carry out this section.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1053, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2025.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This title, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1955, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, which enacted this subchapter and enacted, amended, and repealed numerous other sections and notes in the Code. For complete classification of title X to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 5301 of this title and Tables.


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§5564. Litigation authority

(a) In general

If any person violates a Federal consumer financial law, the Bureau may, subject to sections 5514, 5515, and 5516 of this title, commence a civil action against such person to impose a civil penalty or to seek all appropriate legal and equitable relief including a permanent or temporary injunction as permitted by law.

(b) Representation

The Bureau may act in its own name and through its own attorneys in enforcing any provision of this title,1 rules thereunder, or any other law or regulation, or in any action, suit, or proceeding to which the Bureau is a party.

(c) Compromise of actions

The Bureau may compromise or settle any action if such compromise is approved by the court.

(d) Notice to the Attorney General

(1) In general

When commencing a civil action under Federal consumer financial law, or any rule thereunder, the Bureau shall notify the Attorney General and, with respect to a civil action against an insured depository institution or insured credit union, the appropriate prudential regulator.

(2) Notice and coordination

(A) Notice of other actions

In addition to any notice required under paragraph (1), the Bureau shall notify the Attorney General concerning any action, suit, or proceeding to which the Bureau is a party, except an action, suit, or proceeding that involves the offering or provision of consumer financial products or services.

(B) Coordination

In order to avoid conflicts and promote consistency regarding litigation of matters under Federal law, the Attorney General and the Bureau shall consult regarding the coordination of investigations and proceedings, including by negotiating an agreement for coordination by not later than 180 days after the designated transfer date. The agreement under this subparagraph shall include provisions to ensure that parallel investigations and proceedings involving the Federal consumer financial laws are conducted in a manner that avoids conflicts and does not impede the ability of the Attorney General to prosecute violations of Federal criminal laws.

(C) Rule of construction

Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the authority of the Bureau under this title,1 including the authority to interpret Federal consumer financial law.

(e) Appearance before the Supreme Court

The Bureau may represent itself in its own name before the Supreme Court of the United States, provided that the Bureau makes a written request to the Attorney General within the 10-day period which begins on the date of entry of the judgment which would permit any party to file a petition for writ of certiorari, and the Attorney General concurs with such request or fails to take action within 60 days of the request of the Bureau.

(f) Forum

Any civil action brought under this title 1 may be brought in a United States district court or in any court of competent jurisdiction of a state in a district in which the defendant is located or resides or is doing business, and such court shall have jurisdiction to enjoin such person and to require compliance with any Federal consumer financial law.

(g) Time for bringing action

(1) In general

Except as otherwise permitted by law or equity, no action may be brought under this title 1 more than 3 years after the date of discovery of the violation to which an action relates.

(2) Limitations under other Federal laws

(A) In general

An action arising under this title 1 does not include claims arising solely under enumerated consumer laws.

(B) Bureau authority

In any action arising solely under an enumerated consumer law, the Bureau may commence, defend, or intervene in the action in accordance with the requirements of that provision of law, as applicable.

(C) Transferred authority

In any action arising solely under laws for which authorities were transferred under subtitles F and H, the Bureau may commence, defend, or intervene in the action in accordance with the requirements of that provision of law, as applicable.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1054, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2028.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This title, referred to in subsecs. (b), (d)(2)(C), (f), and (g)(1), (2)(A), is title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1955, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, which enacted this subchapter and enacted, amended, and repealed numerous other sections and notes in the Code. For complete classification of title X to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 5301 of this title and Tables.

Subtitle F, referred to in subsec. (g)(2)(C), is subtitle F (§§1061–1067) of title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2035, which is classified generally to part F (§5581 et seq.) of this subchapter. For complete classification of subtitle F to the Code, see Tables.

Subtitle H, referred to in subsec. (g)(2)(C), is subtitle H (§§1081–1100H) of title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2080. For complete classification of subtitle H to the Code, see Tables.


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.

§5565. Relief available

(a) Administrative proceedings or court actions

(1) Jurisdiction

The court (or the Bureau, as the case may be) in an action or adjudication proceeding brought under Federal consumer financial law, shall have jurisdiction to grant any appropriate legal or equitable relief with respect to a violation of Federal consumer financial law, including a violation of a rule or order prescribed under a Federal consumer financial law.

(2) Relief

Relief under this section may include, without limitation—

(A) rescission or reformation of contracts;

(B) refund of moneys or return of real property;

(C) restitution;

(D) disgorgement or compensation for unjust enrichment;

(E) payment of damages or other monetary relief;

(F) public notification regarding the violation, including the costs of notification;

(G) limits on the activities or functions of the person; and

(H) civil money penalties, as set forth more fully in subsection (c).

(3) No exemplary or punitive damages

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as authorizing the imposition of exemplary or punitive damages.

(b) Recovery of costs

In any action brought by the Bureau, a State attorney general, or any State regulator to enforce any Federal consumer financial law, the Bureau, the State attorney general, or the State regulator may recover its costs in connection with prosecuting such action if the Bureau, the State attorney general, or the State regulator is the prevailing party in the action.

(c) Civil money penalty in court and administrative actions

(1) In general

Any person that violates, through any act or omission, any provision of Federal consumer financial law shall forfeit and pay a civil penalty pursuant to this subsection.

(2) Penalty amounts

(A) First tier

For any violation of a law, rule, or final order or condition imposed in writing by the Bureau, a civil penalty may not exceed $5,000 for each day during which such violation or failure to pay continues.

(B) Second tier

Notwithstanding paragraph (A), for any person that recklessly engages in a violation of a Federal consumer financial law, a civil penalty may not exceed $25,000 for each day during which such violation continues.

(C) Third tier

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), for any person that knowingly violates a Federal consumer financial law, a civil penalty may not exceed $1,000,000 for each day during which such violation continues.

(3) Mitigating factors

In determining the amount of any penalty assessed under paragraph (2), the Bureau or the court shall take into account the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to—

(A) the size of financial resources and good faith of the person charged;

(B) the gravity of the violation or failure to pay;

(C) the severity of the risks to or losses of the consumer, which may take into account the number of products or services sold or provided;

(D) the history of previous violations; and

(E) such other matters as justice may require.

(4) Authority to modify or remit penalty

The Bureau may compromise, modify, or remit any penalty which may be assessed or had already been assessed under paragraph (2). The amount of such penalty, when finally determined, shall be exclusive of any sums owed by the person to the United States in connection with the costs of the proceeding, and may be deducted from any sums owing by the United States to the person charged.

(5) Notice and hearing

No civil penalty may be assessed under this subsection with respect to a violation of any Federal consumer financial law, unless—

(A) the Bureau gives notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the person accused of the violation; or

(B) the appropriate court has ordered such assessment and entered judgment in favor of the Bureau.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1055, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2029.)


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

§5566. Referrals for criminal proceedings

If the Bureau obtains evidence that any person, domestic or foreign, has engaged in conduct that may constitute a violation of Federal criminal law, the Bureau shall transmit such evidence to the Attorney General of the United States, who may institute criminal proceedings under appropriate law. Nothing in this section affects any other authority of the Bureau to disclose information.

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1056, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2031.)


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

§5567. Employee protection

(a) In general

No covered person or service provider shall terminate or in any other way discriminate against, or cause to be terminated or discriminated against, any covered employee or any authorized representative of covered employees by reason of the fact that such employee or representative, whether at the initiative of the employee or in the ordinary course of the duties of the employee (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee), has—

(1) provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided, information to the employer, the Bureau, or any other State, local, or Federal, government authority or law enforcement agency relating to any violation of, or any act or omission that the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of, any provision of this title 1 or any other provision of law that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, or any rule, order, standard, or prohibition prescribed by the Bureau;

(2) testified or will testify in any proceeding resulting from the administration or enforcement of any provision of this title 1 or any other provision of law that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, or any rule, order, standard, or prohibition prescribed by the Bureau;

(3) filed, instituted, or caused to be filed or instituted any proceeding under any Federal consumer financial law; or

(4) objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation of any law, rule, order, standard, or prohibition, subject to the jurisdiction of, or enforceable by, the Bureau.

(b) Definition of covered employee

For the purposes of this section, the term "covered employee" means any individual performing tasks related to the offering or provision of a consumer financial product or service.

(c) Procedures and timetables

(1) Complaint

(A) In general

A person who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of subsection (a) may, not later than 180 days after the date on which such alleged violation occurs, file (or have any person file on his or her behalf) a complaint with the Secretary of Labor alleging such discharge or discrimination and identifying the person responsible for such act.

(B) Actions of Secretary of Labor

Upon receipt of such a complaint, the Secretary of Labor shall notify, in writing, the person named in the complaint who is alleged to have committed the violation, of—

(i) the filing of the complaint;

(ii) the allegations contained in the complaint;

(iii) the substance of evidence supporting the complaint; and

(iv) opportunities that will be afforded to such person under paragraph (2).

(2) Investigation by Secretary of Labor

(A) In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of receipt of a complaint filed under paragraph (1), and after affording the complainant and the person named in the complaint who is alleged to have committed the violation that is the basis for the complaint an opportunity to submit to the Secretary of Labor a written response to the complaint and an opportunity to meet with a representative of the Secretary of Labor to present statements from witnesses, the Secretary of Labor shall—

(i) initiate an investigation and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint has merit; and

(ii) notify the complainant and the person alleged to have committed the violation of subsection (a), in writing, of such determination.

(B) Notice of relief available

If the Secretary of Labor concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred, the Secretary of Labor shall, together with the notice under subparagraph (A)(ii), issue a preliminary order providing the relief prescribed by paragraph (4)(B).

(C) Request for hearing

Not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of notification of a determination of the Secretary of Labor under this paragraph, either the person alleged to have committed the violation or the complainant may file objections to the findings or preliminary order, or both, and request a hearing on the record. The filing of such objections shall not operate to stay any reinstatement remedy contained in the preliminary order. Any such hearing shall be conducted expeditiously, and if a hearing is not requested in such 30-day period, the preliminary order shall be deemed a final order that is not subject to judicial review.

(3) Grounds for determination of complaints

(A) In general

The Secretary of Labor shall dismiss a complaint filed under this subsection, and shall not conduct an investigation otherwise required under paragraph (2), unless the complainant makes a prima facie showing that any behavior described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.

(B) Rebuttal evidence

Notwithstanding a finding by the Secretary of Labor that the complainant has made the showing required under subparagraph (A), no investigation otherwise required under paragraph (2) shall be conducted, if the employer demonstrates, by clear and convincing evidence, that the employer would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of that behavior.

(C) Evidentiary standards

The Secretary of Labor may determine that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred only if the complainant demonstrates that any behavior described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint. Relief may not be ordered under subparagraph (A) if the employer demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the employer would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of that behavior.

(4) Issuance of final orders; review procedures

(A) Timing

Not later than 120 days after the date of conclusion of any hearing under paragraph (2), the Secretary of Labor shall issue a final order providing the relief prescribed by this paragraph or denying the complaint. At any time before issuance of a final order, a proceeding under this subsection may be terminated on the basis of a settlement agreement entered into by the Secretary of Labor, the complainant, and the person alleged to have committed the violation.

(B) Penalties

(i) Order of Secretary of Labor

If, in response to a complaint filed under paragraph (1), the Secretary of Labor determines that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred, the Secretary of Labor shall order the person who committed such violation—

(I) to take affirmative action to abate the violation;

(II) to reinstate the complainant to his or her former position, together with compensation (including back pay) and restore the terms, conditions, and privileges associated with his or her employment; and

(III) to provide compensatory damages to the complainant.

(ii) Penalty

If an order is issued under clause (i), the Secretary of Labor, at the request of the complainant, shall assess against the person against whom the order is issued, a sum equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney fees and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred, as determined by the Secretary of Labor, by the complainant for, or in connection with, the bringing of the complaint upon which the order was issued.

(C) Penalty for frivolous claims

If the Secretary of Labor finds that a complaint under paragraph (1) is frivolous or has been brought in bad faith, the Secretary of Labor may award to the prevailing employer a reasonable attorney fee, not exceeding $1,000, to be paid by the complainant.

(D) De novo review

(i) Failure of the Secretary to act

If the Secretary of Labor has not issued a final order within 210 days after the date of filing of a complaint under this subsection, or within 90 days after the date of receipt of a written determination, the complainant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States having jurisdiction, which shall have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy, and which action shall, at the request of either party to such action, be tried by the court with a jury.

(ii) Procedures

A proceeding under clause (i) shall be governed by the same legal burdens of proof specified in paragraph (3). The court shall have jurisdiction to grant all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including injunctive relief and compensatory damages, including—

(I) reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the discharge or discrimination;

(II) the amount of back pay, with interest; and

(III) compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discharge or discrimination, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees.

(E) Other appeals

Unless the complainant brings an action under subparagraph (D), any person adversely affected or aggrieved by a final order issued under subparagraph (A) may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation with respect to which the order was issued, allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of such violation, not later than 60 days after the date of the issuance of the final order of the Secretary of Labor under subparagraph (A). Review shall conform to chapter 7 of title 5. The commencement of proceedings under this subparagraph shall not, unless ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the order. An order of the Secretary of Labor with respect to which review could have been obtained under this subparagraph shall not be subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.

(5) Failure to comply with order

(A) Actions by the Secretary

If any person has failed to comply with a final order issued under paragraph (4), the Secretary of Labor may file a civil action in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred, or in the United States district court for the District of Columbia, to enforce such order. In actions brought under this paragraph, the district courts shall have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate relief including injunctive relief and compensatory damages.

(B) Civil actions to compel compliance

A person on whose behalf an order was issued under paragraph (4) may commence a civil action against the person to whom such order was issued to require compliance with such order. The appropriate United States district court shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to enforce such order.

(C) Award of costs authorized

The court, in issuing any final order under this paragraph, may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) to any party, whenever the court determines such award is appropriate.

(D) Mandamus proceedings

Any nondiscretionary duty imposed by this section shall be enforceable in a mandamus proceeding brought under section 1361 of title 28.

(d) Unenforceability of certain agreements

(1) No waiver of rights and remedies

Except as provided under paragraph (3), and notwithstanding any other provision of law, the rights and remedies provided for in this section may not be waived by any agreement, policy, form, or condition of employment, including by any predispute arbitration agreement.

(2) No predispute arbitration agreements

Except as provided under paragraph (3), and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no predispute arbitration agreement shall be valid or enforceable to the extent that it requires arbitration of a dispute arising under this section.

(3) Exception

Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), an arbitration provision in a collective bargaining agreement shall be enforceable as to disputes arising under subsection (a)(4), unless the Bureau determines, by rule, that such provision is inconsistent with the purposes of this title.1

(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1057, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2031.)


Editorial Notes

References in Text

This title, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1), (2), and (d)(3), is title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1955, known as the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, which enacted this subchapter and enacted, amended, and repealed numerous other sections and notes in the Code. For complete classification of title X to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 5301 of this title and Tables.


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date

Section effective on the designated transfer date, see section 1058 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as a note under section 5561 of this title.

1 See References in Text note below.