Did we forget so soon the Great Recession? The fate of the Consumer Protection Bureau in 2017

In the face of a coming Trump administration, the New York Times writes that Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “braces for a reckoning” amid Republican lawmakers’ calls for a change in leadership structure – or outright elimination of the young federal agency altogether.

“Mild-mannered, lawyerly and with a genius for trivia,” writes Stacy Cowley, “Richard Cordray is not the sort of guy you picture at the center of Washington’s bitter partisan wars over regulation and consumer safeguards.”

This partisan war, given that one political party will dominate in 2017, could mean that the winner sees fit to weaken or eliminate the CFPB. But, as Cowley reports, here’s what the CFPB has done since it was created roughly six years ago (in the Great Recession’s wake):

  • Overhauled rules on mortgage loans
  • Opposed debt collectors who employ abusive or deceptive tactics
  • Gone after companies that defrauded consumers, won billions in fines/judgments

These actions would seem to benefit, not harm, American consumers.

Most recently, as we wrote about in September (what we know about the Wells Fargo scandal), the CFPB helped blow the lid and lead the charge on Big Banking, revealing to the American people how Wells Fargo fraudulently opened accounts on customers’ behalf without consent. Some of these accounts collectively resulted in thousands in customer fees.

And some lawmakers say we don’t need the CFPB’s help.

Have you filed for bankruptcy or otherwise had difficulty with debt within the last 10 years?

If it was because of the Great Recession (largely believed to be the result of a lack of financial regulation), then you know better than to believe lawmakers when they say that we don’t need the CFPB.

We very likely do.

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