CFPB’s true irony, however, it that multiple, measurable achievements have occurred despite determined and nagging opposition. In America, varying views can be spoken – even acted upon. But there is simply no denying the benefits of a full-time consumer cop on the beat. In a relatively short period of time, CFPB has, in many ways, been a model for ensuring fairness, transparency and effective rules of the road.
The Bureau regularly reports to Congress with appearances before each chamber and twice each calendar year. While CFPB engages panels of advisors that include small business leaders in the development of all proposed rules, the 354,600 consumer complaints it has received as of this month further inform and guide the Bureau’s work.
Even the most cursory view will reveal that:
•CFPB’s enforcement actions have returned over $3.8 billion in refunds and relief to 12.6 million consumers.
•For the first time ever, 30 million consumers, struggling to recover from the recession have protections from abusive debt collection practices that unfairly tarnish their credit records, jeopardize future employment opportunities and add unnecessary costs to access credit.
•CFPB has aggressively engaged stakeholders by visiting 23 metro areas in 21 states for its town halls and field hearings. All events have been opened to the public and included a range of perspectives from various stakeholders. Witnesses have included businesses, academicians, consumers and others commenting on a variety of lending issues like debt collection, auto and payday loans, and abusive overdraft fees.
•New rules now govern the $10 trillion mortgage industry, providing consumers protections at every stage of the process of purchasing and paying for a home.
Public input has also been vital to the Bureau’s decision-making process. Public comments have been an important perspective on all proposed rules. In cooperation with its Office of Service Member Affairs, CFPB has also visited 80 military installations. Multiple advisory boards broaden CFPB’s knowledge and insights to consumer lending.
With these and many other actions to its credit, CFPB is, in fact, actively pursuing its mission: to be the number one consumer cop for America. Real needs are being met and deliberate actions are curtailing what needs to stop.
Of course, we all know that enacting meaningful financial reform is a deliberate, often contentious process; but real progress is being made.
Congress—like the rest of the nation—should be proud.
(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org.)