Five years ago, the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was passed by Congress, and four years ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opened its door for business.
Last week, CFPB Director Rich Cordray celebrated his agency’s birthday with members of the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), a coalition of more than 200 organizations that fought hard for Dodd-Frank and for the creation of the CFPB. The Center for Effective Government is proud to be a member of the coalition.
Cordray explained the vital purpose of the CFPB during his remarks to AFR: “Through fair rules, consistent oversight, appropriate enforcement of the law, and broad-based consumer engagement, the Consumer Bureau is working to restore people’s trust and confidence in the markets they use for everyday financial products and services.”
The CFPB has also helped strengthen the financial services companies it regulates by providing an incentive to improve customer service and reduce their exposure to lawsuits. “If we can help spur competition based on customer satisfaction, this has the potential to improve the functioning, transparency, and efficiency of the financial marketplace,” Cordray told AFR members.
Among its many accomplishments, the CFPB has repeatedly brought various governmental agencies together on behalf of American citizens and consumers. Over the last year, the agency partnered with the Comptroller of the Currency and 47 state attorneys general in forcing J.P. Morgan Chase to change its debt collection practices. It also partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to win $480 million in student debt relief for former students of the now-bankrupt Corinthian College, and it cooperated with the Federal Communications Commission to gain $100 million in refunds for customers of Verizon and Sprint, who were illegally charged fees on their cell phone bills.
But the CFPB’s greatest achievement has been the way it has created a vital and meaningful role for citizens to be active participants in their government. CFPB’s citizen complaint database, launched in June 2012 and described in greater detail below, has been at the core of the agency’s work.