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Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative Joins With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Facilitate Consumer Input on RulemakingIthaca, NEW YORK, August 10, 2012The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) has announced a new partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to facilitate public participation in rulemakings to implement parts of the Dodd-Frank Act. CeRI’s Regulation Room, an innovative online participation website, will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to learn about and discuss CFPB’s proposed new residential mortgage consumer protection rules. Regulation Room will then bring the information gleaned from public participation to the CFPB for consideration in finalizing the rules.

“CFPB has been a true innovator in using technology to reach out to the public. We are excited to begin working with them to build an online community of informed consumers who can participate meaningfully in the process of making new consumer financial protection regulations,” said Cynthia Farina, Professor Law at Cornell Law School and Principal Research at CeRI.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Cornell University on its eRulemaking Initiative to experiment with ways to present our proposed mortgage servicing rules in a more accessible web-based format,” said Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “We want to get comments from as many people as possible, and in particular to reach out to regular consumers and smaller providers. We believe that doing so will lead to better mortgage servicing rules and, more generally, will generate valuable insight into ways to improve our rulemaking process on all fronts.”

CeRI has opened Regulation Room on CFPB’s newest proposed rules, which would require mortgage companies to change practices that resulted, during the mortgage crisis, in some mistaken or unnecessary foreclosures. The proposed rules focus on ensuring that all consumers receive accurate and timely information about the status of their home mortgages, and that borrowers who are in trouble receive the help they need. Regulation Room will seek consumer reaction to several new forms CFPB has redesigned to be more user-friendly.

Regulation Room will be also reaching out to small banks, credit unions, and thrifts, to ensure that these lenders, who often serve local borrowers, get a chance to explain to CFPB how the proposals would affect their operations.
“We believe that ordinary people can have a real impact on these policies, for many borrowers have personal experience with the problems CFPB is trying to solve. It’s also important to hear from community bankers and credit union officials, who serve community residents in a different way than large mortgage companies,” said Professor Farina. “People can come to Regulation Room and quickly focus on what parts of CFPB’s proposals most affect them, or their companies. With this information, they can actually have a say in what federal law in this area will be. That’s really democracy in action.”