ABA urges Congress to set CFPB privilege standard

By Kimberly Atkins

Dolan Media Newswires

BOSTON, MA--The American Bar Association is urging Congressional lawmakers to adopt legislation that would establish a standard for the treatment of privileged information by federal financial agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Bills in both houses, H.R. 4014 and S. 2099, would amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act with respect to information provided to federal agencies. The House Financial Services Committee has advanced the House version while the Senate version is awaiting committee action.

ABA president William T. Robinson, III, has sent letters to House and Senate lawmakers urging them to pass the measures to ensure that privileged materials shared with federal banking agencies remain privileged as to all other parties.

"The attorney-client privilege is a bedrock legal principle that enables both individual and organizational clients to communicate with their lawyers in confidence, and it encourages clients to seek out and obtain guidance to conform their conduct to the law," Robinson said in the letter. "The privilege also facilitates self-investigation into past conduct to identify shortcomings and remedy problems, to the benefit of society at large."

Robinson also noted in the letters that the measures mirror the principles developed by the ABA Task Force on Financial Markets Regulatory Reform and adopted by the ABA in 2009.

In particular, the bills would "help ensure a more integrated, consistent and coordinated approach to the regulation of financial services providers" and also would promote "uniform treatment of privileged materials by ... federal banking regulators and the CFPB," Robinson said.

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Published: Thu, Mar 29, 2012