(COMMON DREAMS) Elizabeth Warren, October 21, 2015 — You’ll never guess who’s going around Washington, trolling the halls of Congress, talking about the importance of protecting the long-term health of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The banking industry.
That’s right: After years of trying to kill, then delay, and then defang the agency, the banking industry and their Republican friends in Congress have launched a new effort to attract Democratic support for their latest attack by claiming that they just want to help the agency and the consumers it protects. Surely Democrats will not be taken in by yet another attempt to weaken the CFPB.
The latest industry-sponsored bill would fundamentally change the structure of the CFPB by replacing the agency’s single, independent director with a commission of political appointees.
The banks can’t point to any difficulties with the agency’s operations. In fact, the CFPB has been operating for only four years, but the success of the single-director structure is already apparent. Under the leadership of Director Richard Cordray, the CFPB already has:
- returned more than $11 billion to over 25 million consumers who werecheated on their credit cards, checking accounts or other financial products;
- built a complaint hotline that has exceeded all expectations, handling more than 700,000 complaints and building an information database that isbeginning to level the playing field for consumers; and
- issued new, common sense rules on mortgages and other financial products and services that have helped consumers compare costs and understand risks — all while making markets safer and more resilient.
Part of the reason the agency has succeeded is the current single-director structure makes it easier for Congress to hold someone accountable for the agency’s core mission — concentrating the mind in a way that does not occur with multi-person boards.