Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray is preparing to go before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday morning, as the Committee gathers to receive the CFPB’s semiannual report.
Set for 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Rayburn House Office Building, the hearing is a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the Bureau publish a semiannual report on the CFPB’s activities, as well as testify to that report in front of the Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees. The reports discussed Wednesday will cover CFPB activities from Oct. 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016, and April 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2016. The latter marks the 10th semiannual report issued by the Bureau.
Given the current political debate swirling around the Bureau’s structure, its directorship, and the CFPB itself, the hearing is likely to have a different tone than those in years past. Cordray’s prepared remarks, recently released by the CFPB, certainly affirm that.
“Years of uneven federal oversight on behalf of consumers allowed a lot of bad behavior to go unchecked,” the remarks state. “As the independent consumer watchdog, we are solely focused on the job Congress gave us of assuring that these markets are fair, transparent, and competitive and consumers have access to sound financial products and services. Today, I want to highlight some areas where people remain vulnerable without the Consumer Bureau to stand up for them.”
According to his remarks, Cordray will cover debt collection, financial performance incentives, and credit reporting—as well as the “dead ends” they pose for some consumers. He also will also delve into recent Wells Fargo litigation, which alleges the bank opened accounts in consumers’ names without their consent.
“The investigation we conducted with our federal and local partners documented the widespread practice of secretly opening up unauthorized accounts,” Cordray will say. “By completing a public enforcement action with a record fine, we blew open a scandal whose far-reaching effects are being felt across financial markets to this day. We are keeping a close eye on these practices and insisting that all banks and financial companies must carefully monitor their incentive programs to avoid such problems.”
It's issues like these, Cordray’s remarks point out, that make the CFPB a necessity in today’s marketplace.
“Those who talk about weakening the Consumer Bureau are missing the importance of the work we are doing to stand up for individuals and families all over this country,” Cordray’s remarks said. “Nobody should want to return to a system that failed us and produced a financial crisis that damaged so many lives.”