CFPB Director Chopra Testifies Before Congress
Rohit Chopra, President Biden’s newly installed Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), testified this week on consecutive days before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees in his first congressional hearing as CFPB Director. Much of Chopra’s comments focused on oversight of big tech companies and large banks, with an additional focus on issues with bipartisan appeal like helping small businesses and maintaining strong relationships between banks and customers.
“Too many households and businesses have no place to turn to when they need help, especially when they face errors and problems in their financial lives,” Chopra said in his statement before the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC). “Preserving relationship banking is critical to our nation’s resilience and recovery, particularly in these times of stress.”
The hearing came a week after the CFPB ordered Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Paypal, and Square to turn over information regarding their payment practices, in order to investigate how big tech companies are using consumer data.
A MarketWatch article noted that Chopra expressed concern over big tech companies offering financial services because of the wealth of information they have on consumers’ online shopping behavior. His concern was not only about Americans’ privacy, but also about how data usage could hinder the ability of small companies and startups to compete.
“No matter the industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is all about empowering people,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “It’s about giving people a tool to stand up to the big banks and the financial corporations and the big tech companies that have far too much power in this country.”
“The CFPB must take action to ensure that consumers have more control over their own data and are protected from discrimination and predatory products or services,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman.
According to American Banker, Chopra’s bipartisan approach was well-received by Democrats and Republicans. Neither party had lawmakers use the pointed rhetoric that they’ve aimed at Chopra’s predecessors.