Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testified Wednesday before the House Committee on Financial Services in a hearing titled “Consumers First: Biannual Report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
“During my first six months as director, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has refocused its efforts to align with the goals that Congress has set for the agency,” Chopra said, describing several of the Bureau’s goals. to date, including:
- Focus enforcement on repeat offenders and other major market players
- Improve transparency through guidance
- Rethinking our approach to regulation
- Listen and learn from the business community
- Promotion of competition
- Preparing for the era of Big Tech and Big Data in banking
“Under your leadership, I am thrilled that the CFPB is finally back on track,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, in his opening speech. “I salute your recent efforts to crack down on large financial corporations that repeatedly break the law and harm individual consumers and working families. The practice of imposing a fine on a repeat offender when it is making large profits should no longer be tolerated; there must be serious consequences and structural reforms to prevent this kind of recurrence.
Chopra described the CFPB’s recent actions against MoneyGram, FirstCash and TransUnion, two companies that violated enforcement orders and other consumer financial protection laws.
“When small businesses break the law, federal law enforcement is often quick to impose crippling penalties,” Chopra said. “But when bigger players repeatedly break the law, agencies are much more lenient. It is highly inappropriate. I undertake that the CFPB will not go down this path. The CFPB diverts law enforcement resources away from small business investigations and instead focuses on repeat offenders and big players implicated in large-scale damages.
Making rules and regulations clear and concise was another topic addressed by Chopra, noting the Bureau’s publication of guidance documents, such as advisory opinions, compliance bulletins, policy statements and other publications.
“Laws work best when they’re easy to understand, easy to follow, and easy to enforce,” Chopra said. “These efforts help entities comply with laws passed by Congress by providing further clarity where needed or drawing attention to an already clear legal requirement.”
Allowing the public to exercise their constitutional right to petition the government was another topic of discussion during testimony. Chopra pointed to the CFPB process that will allow the Bureau to hear directly from the public about potential regulations that should be developed or changed.
Along the same lines of being open to public input, Chopra also discussed engaging with institutions without direct access to the CFPB, including smaller banks and credit unions, and other businesses. and associations, including healthcare providers, car dealerships, farmers, hotel owners, retailers. , and more.
“While these industries generally engage in business practices that fall outside the CFPB’s authority, they are deeply affected by the laws the agency administers,” Chopra said during testimony. “These efforts will help the CFPB be more responsive to the needs of businesses across the economy.”
He ended his presentation by noting the Bureau’s willingness to embrace new technologies and be responsive to advances in the digital space.
“America’s consumer credit infrastructure is the plumbing for an enormous amount of economic activity,” Chopra added. “New technologies and new systems can bring us faster payments and new opportunities to connect customers and financial providers.”
Click here to see Chopra’s testimonial in full or click here to view the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Semi-Annual Report.”