Republicans Blast CFPB Director in Preview of Next Congress
During a contentious hearing last week in which Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra testified before the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing entitled “Consumers First: Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Republicans on the committee made it clear that with their party set to take the majority in January, the Bureau can expect much stricter oversight during the next Congress.
Before the hearing, all committee Republicans also sent a letter to Chopra urging him to rescind his anti-consumer actions about nonbank financial firms.
“You can look forward to much more thorough oversight next year when Republicans are in charge of this committee,” said Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) in his opening statement. “Next month there will be a new majority in the House of Representatives. I think you’ll wish you tried harder to play by the rules.”
Over the last several months, Republicans have criticized Chopra of holding unchecked power and pursuing a “radical and highly-politicized agenda unbounded by statutory limits.” As McHenry noted in his opening remarks, Republicans have sent more than 10 letters to Chopra asking specific questions over the past year, but McHenry said Chopra replied only with single-page responses.
McHenry also questioned Chopra on the CFPB’s policies on how it issues certain notices, criticizing what he calls the agency’s practice of “regulation by press release.” “Such ‘clarifications’ and ‘guidance’ without time to process the changes foster an environment of uncertainty for the industry,” McHenry said.
Chopra said that the CFPB’s usage of blog posts, guidance, and other circulars is a response to industry requests for more transparency and to promote compliance and clarity. He also said the CFPB is looking to improve transparency regarding exchange rates for remittance providers, so consumers can more clearly understand the associated fees.