Yesterday was the last Congressional hearing I’m aware of prior to the July 21, official launch date for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
There was tension that House Republicans would roll back the scope and authority of the new CFPB even before it actually began but from reports of the hearing, the gutting of the agency did not occur.
It has become clear to me that the CFPB does take its role as a consumer watchdog seriously and the people I’ve met in my visits there are very dedicated and super smart. I’ve yet to meet any staffer that is just pushing a pencil and paper around. They are interested, engaged and certainly appear eager to begin.
It appears the hearing yesterday followed the party script, Republicans tried to paint the agency as a job killer and a bloated mess. Democrats rallied and stood up for the CFPB.
While Professor Elizabeth Warren may not eventually be named to head the new agency, she has been an incredible person in its birth. It was her vision that lead to the creation of a government agency that may actually work on behalf of consumers to seek fairness and protection from harmful financial products.
Republican members opposed to the agency’s powers repeatedly asked Ms. Warren if there were credit instruments or practices, like payday lending, that she would seek to ban as abusive or unfair under the agency’s new authority.
Ms. Warren said there were not any practices she would want to ban at the moment, adding that she would instead pursue less severe remedies like consumer education, enforcement investigations, fines or civil lawsuits against lenders. – Source
At one point, Rep. Mike Ross (R-Ark.) wanted to know whether the agency would exercise its power to ban certain financial products in its first year. When Warren said it was holding off for now, Ross slightly raised his voice, “So it would be okay then that we just revoke the power?” – Source
I’m still flabbergasted that nonprofit organizations are currently trying to push back at the CFPB and trying to exempt themselves from registration and recognition as debt relief providers. Logically the nonprofit credit counseling groups should be encouraging and openly supporting the CFPB and working with the agency on behalf of consumers.
Not to be too cynical, but could it be that the nonprofit credit counselors don’t want to be open about what they do with the CFPB or help to proactively change abusive financial practices that might limit their demand and need?
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