Payday lending takes next regulatory priority

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray sat before Senate one last time before he goes to trial with PHH next week over his leadership of the bureau.

And compared to past hearings, this one went pretty smooth for the director, especially considering only 2 years ago he referred to questions from Congress as “offensive.”

Apparently, since then, there are more reasons to praise the work of his regulatory agency.

So what was different today?

This time around Director Cordray came to battle with an army of supporters, keeping the atmosphere in the room extremely calm compared to previous years.

In past semi-annual hearings, Cordray defended the bureau against attacks on itsannual budget, massive data collection, management and lack of oversight, items that barely came up in Thursday’s hearing.

One big reason behind this year’s calm hearing could be the fact that since the CFPB became a watchdog for consumers 5 years ago, it has obtained $11.2 billion in relief for 25 million people.  A number that has skyrocketed from the $3.8 billion reported two years ago.

Before the hearing, the panel received petitions from hundreds of thousands of Americans supporting the bureau’s work.

Here are two examples:

  • National Community Reinvestment Coalition: “NCRC applauds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule expanding the data collected around the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act… We are particularly pleased that the CFPB has followed the recommendation of NCRC and other advocacy groups to disaggregate the data on race and ethnicity. The CFPB has also shown careful consideration of potential privacy issues in this process, which should assuage any concerns surrounding the collection of the data.”
  • National Fair Housing Alliance: “Prior to the establishment of the CFPB there was an obvious void in federal oversight of financial institutions operating to bring a panoply of financial products and services to consumers. This is evidenced by the sheer number of fair lending issues the Bureau is now able to address using its authority under Dodd-Frank. The millions of consumers who have received relief from discriminatory practices are a testament to the Bureau’s necessity. NFHA fully supports the fair lending regulatory and enforcement work the CFPB has undertaken and urges the Committee to do everything within its power to ensure that the agency is fully equipped to continue its work to make our financial markets fair for America’s consumers.”

Read on.

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