The Bureau or, where appropriate, a Bureau investigator, may engage in joint investigations and requests for information, as authorized under this title.1
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.
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
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.
Any failure to obey an order of the court under this subsection may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The testimony shall be taken stenographically and transcribed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All process of any court to which application may be made as provided in this subsection may be served in any judicial district.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.