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U.S. consumer watchdog seeks delay on pair of debt collection rules

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Wednesday it wants to delay a pair of debt collection rules finalized at the end of the Trump administration.

The watchdog said it was proposing pushing back the effective date of the rules by 60 days, to Jan. 29, 2022, to give affected parties more time to review and prepare for the new requirements, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The first rule, which had been finalized at the end of November, outlines standards around how debt collectors can communicate with borrowers, including how often they can be called, texted or emailed.

The second, published in December, clarified the type of disclosures debt collectors must make to borrowers they are pursuing. It prohibited collectors from threatening legal action to collect debt from borrowers that is so old it is no longer considered legally collectible, so-called “time-barred” debt. It also said collectors must make a certain level of contact with borrowers before sending negative information on to credit bureaus.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Steve Orlofsky