Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The New Consumer Protection Bureau May Have Surprising Results

That Is,  It May Actually Provide Protection for Consumers

Who Would Have Thought!

The Finance Regulation law passed in the first Obama Administration has had one great effect, it created Senator Elizabeth Warren. Ms. Warren was slated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when her candidacy was blocked by Republicans.  As a result Ms. Warren ran for and was elected to the United States Senate, defeating a Republican incumbent,  where she will serve on the committee that regulates banks.  Yeah, we’re still smiling.

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Photograph by Tom Williams/Getty Images
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A second benefit of the law is that the new consumer protection agency may actually start protecting consumers.

In the year and a half since opening its doors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has hired more than 1,000 staffers, collected 90,000 consumer complaints, and begun supervising many of the 153 banks under its authority. The fledgling agency—a product of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul—released its most ambitious new policy on Jan. 10: a set of rules that will shape the future of mortgage lending. “They have had a monumental impact for an agency that has only really been operational for a year,” says Alan Kaplinsky, an attorney at Ballard Spahr who represents companies on matters before the bureau.

And no, despite Republican alarmist worries the agency does not appear to be turning into a regulatory monster.  Here’s what one opponent says

the CFPB hasn’t been the one-sided force the industry feared. “They are not reflexively doing everything they can to help consumers and screw the industry,” says Kaplinsky. After an industry outcry, the bureau amended disclosure requirements for international wire transfers and delayed the rule’s implementation.

But the best news of all, the Bureau’s next targets.

 Says Cordray: “We are really looking forward to getting through the mortgage rules so we can start to take on other issues.” Payday lenders, prepaid card providers, and banks that charge overdraft fees: You’re among the groups up next.

Effective regulation here will help the most vulnerable of the population and actually protect and promote those companies whose practices are ethical and honest.  No wonder Conservatives are so upset at the prospects.

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