CFPB’s Cordray Gets Grilled in Senate Banking Hearing

July 16th, 2015

On July 15, 2015, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  Cordray provided the agency’s semi-annual report to Congress, also aligning with the five-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Despite having instituted countless rulemakings, collecting more than $10 billion in relief for consumers, and bringing $32 million in civil money penalties, the actions of the CFPB came under heavy fire during the hearing.

Members criticized Cordray and the CFPB for everything from overly broad enforcement, excessive spending, a recent violation of the Congressional Review Act, to massive data collections despite the lack of sufficient privacy protections.  Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R – AL) said, “In addition to concerns with recent regulatory actions, issues remain with the Bureau’s lack of accountability.” He added, “This has been demonstrated by concerns with the bureau’s budgeting process, including the rising costs of renovation for the CFPB’s new headquarters,” and “Congressional oversight of the bureau is critical now more than ever because of the CFPB’s growing reach over the practices of individuals and companies in the financial sector.”  While it is highly unlikely that any reforms to the CFPB’s governance under the Dodd-Frank Act would be passed under President Obama’s tenure, these criticisms may pave the way for future reform measures, particularly under a Republican administration.

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