Ed's Blog

Rich Cordray of CFPB to testify today on consumer protection

By Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

The newly Presidentially-confirmed director of the CFPB, the nation's first financial regulator with just one job -- protecting consumers -- goes before a House Oversight and Government Affairs subcommittee today at 1:30 pm (live video). The subcommittee leadership, chaired by Patrick McHenry (R-NC) is known for its, shall we say, adversarial approach to consumer protection. But we expect the consumer champions on the committee to hold their own and give Rich a fair shot.

From Rich Cordray's excellent prepared remarks, which should be posted at that link sometime before the hearing:

My vision for the Consumer Bureau is that it will work to make consumer financial markets operate fairly in order to protect consumers, support honest businesses, and play a crucial role in helping to safeguard the overall economy. [...]  When consumers know the true costs, benefits, and risks of competing products, they will be better able to make good decisions for themselves and their families.  It will also help people avoid being ambushed by costly surprises buried in the fine print, so they can have proper confidence that the terms of the deal stated today are the terms they will actually be living with down the road. [...] Second, the Consumer Bureau will benefit honest businesses by leveling the playing field and ensuring that financial institutions play by the same set of rules. [...]  With a Director now in place, the Bureau can work to level the playing field on which our nation’s financial institutions will innovate and compete.  [...] The Consumer Bureau can help responsible businesses by ensuring that everyone competing in the marketplace follows the same set of fair and reasonable rules. Finally, the Bureau’s efforts can help strengthen our nation’s economy.

At noon, I will join other consumer advocates and Congressional champions of the CFPB, including Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Brad Miller (D-NC), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) for a news conference to talk about the goals of the the CFPB. It will be at the House Triangle outside or in Cannon 441 (rain).

By the way, ABC News is one of many outlets reporting that Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan told investors late last week that the bank's "failed plan to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee led to a 20 percent increase in closed accounts in the last three months of 2011." Yikes.

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