I doubt that many folks outside Washington, D.C. even know that there still is no director for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In fact, it appears it may be a long while before there is a director. Senate Republicans are using their opposition to former Ohio Attorney General, Richard Cordray, who has been nominated by the President to lead the new Bureau, to keep the needed agency from functioning at its peak capacity. Interestingly, Senate Republicans claim their problem is not with Cordray, whom President Barack Obama nominated for the job back in July. They claim it’s really with how the Bureau is designed. Before they will let a director be confirmed, the Republicans say they want changes made to the agency. My guess is that the Big Banks are driving this opposition train.
Democrats contend Republicans are ignoring ordinary people and casting them aside to protect big banks and Wall Street from ”a new cop on the credit card and mortgage beat.” Republicans dismiss the charge, however, saying they are trying to protect the country from more regulatory overreach that they claim “will bury Main Street under its weight.” Somebody should remind them, as if they didn’t already know, that the lack of regulation of Corporate America, and specifically the Big Banks, almost destroyed our nation’s economy.
The new agency is one of the signature aspects of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law enacted in response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. The Bureau is charged with overseeing markets for financial products like credit cards and home loans in response to concerns that some shiftless lenders were preying on consumers in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Republicans contend the Bureau has too much power and needs to be more carefully watched by Congress. To this end they want it to be run by a board, rather than a director, have its budget approved by Congress, and give other regulators more authority to veto its regulations.
Even with the gridlock in the Senate, the consumer agency has begun doing its mandated work. The agency opened its doors in July and has been working on issues like setting up a consumer complaint website and drafting sample credit card and mortgage forms it hopes will make it easier for borrowers to understand loans. It also has staff onsite at large banks across the country keeping an eye on the industry. In fact, Cordray actually leads the Bureau’s enforcement division, and may for some time. Hopefully, he will eventually be confirmed by the Senate.
Source: Insurance Journal
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