Biden Nominates Rohit Chopra to Lead CFPB; Dave Uejio Named as Acting Director as Kraninger Resigns

Jan 20, 2021Federal Regulation, News

As he continues to fill key roles in his administration, President Joe Biden has nominated Rohit Chopra, currently a member of the Federal Trade Commission, to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). A Politico article highlighted that Chopra is known as a strong consumer advocate who is closely aligned with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and who helped set up the CFPB after it was established a decade ago.

Chopra’s nomination signaled that the Biden administration likely plans for the Bureau to return to its more muscular posture before many Trump administration appointees curbed the agency’s reach. Democrats narrowly control the Senate with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, so Chopra’s confirmation is far from a sure bet.

Chopra previously served as both an assistant director and student loan ombudsperson at the CFPB when the agency formally began in 2011, and has served as a Federal Trade Commissioner since 2018. He will likely prioritize restoring the CFPB’s focus on fair lending law enforcement and allow staff to use supervision and enforcement tools to fight discrimination.

Chopra will also likely roll back the revised payday rule released in July. Consumer groups have pushed to overturn the rule, saying that it violated both the Dodd-Frank Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Other items expected out of Chopra’s leadership, if confirmed, include cracking down on payday lenders and strengthening robust case law on what is considered “abusive” under the Dodd-Frank Act. These items, however, are expected to take considerably longer than enforcing fair lending law.

“Unfair or deceptive acts or practices” have been banned under federal law, but the Dodd-Frank act added “abusive” acts in 2010, giving the CFPB enforcement and rulemaking authority. Business groups have urged more clarification on the “abusive” term, and the Bureau stated it would take a restrained approach in charging for abusive violations, based on an open-ended, “good-faith” exception.

Shortly after Biden assumed the Presidency, Kathy Kraninger, who was appointed Director of the Bureau in December 2018, submitted her letter of resignation at his request.

“I support the Constitutional prerogative of the President to support senior officials within the government who support the President’s policy priorities, which ensures our government is responsive to the will of the people as expressed in presidential elections,” she wrote in the letter. “I hope that my legacy will be the maturation of the CFPB itself and its role within the financial services regulatory framework,” she also wrote.

As one of his first acts as President, Biden announced acting agency leadership across the Administration to temporarily lead federal agencies while nominees move through the confirmation process. As part of those announcements, Biden named Dave Uejio as the Bureau’s Acting Director. Uejio has held a variety of roles at the CFPB since joining in February 2012 as its first lead for talent acquisition, including strategy program manager, acting deputy chief of staff, and acting chief of staff.

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