CFPB stands for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is an agency created by the Dodd-Frank legislation passed after the 2008-09 financial crisis, as a way to help hold banks who contributed significantly to the crisis accountable. Its sole mission is to be an advocate for consumers, and you can check out their informative website here.
This article published today by consumer advocate par excellance Paul Bland, Executive Director of Public Justice, discusses how important the CFPB is to any sensible notion of “draining the swamp,” a popular campaign theme of our newly-elected president. It contains an insightful analysis and I urge you to read and share it.
We are currently hard at work on a fair debt collection practices class action against Michigan’s dominant mortgage foreclosure firm, seeking to assist hundreds of thousands of victims of unfair debt collection practices. Moreover, the CFPB has promulgated a rule (not yet in effect) to ban “class action waiver” mandatory arbitration agreements in credit card, checking account, and other consumer financial transactions it regulates. I field many calls from consumers seeking to hold vendors accountable (a recent call involved T-Mobile and the Samsung Note 7), who I cannot assist effectively because of these class waivers.
The CFPB recently held Wells Fargo to account for reportedly some 2 million bogus accounts set up to meet sales quotas. I’ve read reports that Wells Fargo has attempted to assert the soon-to-be-banished class action waiver/mandatory arbitration provisions in its current customer agreements to block private class actions seeking compensation for this conduct.
In short, consumers clearly benefit from the CFPB–for which the need is more clear than ever. This is an agency that plays an important role for those who truly care about draining the swamp, and holding big banks accountable. If anything, the agency’s budget and scope should be expanded, not reduced or eliminated. It has an excellent Director now, Richard Cordray (former Ohio Attorney General, Robert Bork clerk, and Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy clerk–i.e., sterling academic and even conservative credentials), who should be retained or replaced with a comparable consumer advocate. This would be a strong signal that the new president is serious about fighting for the interests of consumers and the working class.
If someone tries to sell you a line about, e.g., how repealing Dodd-Frank or eliminating the CFPB is somehow part of a “clean up Washington” pitch, please understand it for what it is: double-talk.