Consumer Protection Agency Countdown Begins, Still No Director

Despite being less than six months away before the enactment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency still doesn’t have a permanent director.

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), a collection of consumer advocates, published a report on Friday that praised the “significant progress” made by the bureau, but called on President Obama to appoint a director of the agency.

“The president should nominate and the Senate should confirm a qualified director of the bureau as soon as possible,” the group said in the report.  “This will ensure that the bureau gains its full authorities to protect the public by the transfer date.”  AFR cited Ms. Elizabeth Warren as “certainly one potential nominee” who was well qualified.

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President Obama tapped Warren in September to lead the agency on a temporary basis, but without a Senate-confirmed director by the designated transfer date (July 21,2011), the Treasury Secretary is not permitted to exercise the Bureau’s authority to supervise nonbank lenders that extend credit and write rules for consumer products like mortgages and credit cards.

Getting a nominee confirmed through the Senate is no easy task.  Republicans have vowed to scrutinize the bureau’s every move and the AFR warned that “it must defend itself against ongoing special interest attacks and one‐sided Congressional inquiries.”

The CFPB could have a big impact on the way reverse mortgages are offered to consumers.  An unnamed source at the bureau told the Wall Street Journal the agency has started to look into the products and plans to build on the Federal Reserve and GAO’s efforts to improve disclosures and prevent misleading advertising.

As part of Dodd-Frank, the agency is also required to conduct a study on reverse mortgages to identify deceptive practices and figure out whether suitability standards are necessary.

To view a copy of the report, see here.

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  • Who is in AFR? The Americans for Financial Reform claims to be a broad based organization of about 250 other national and state organizations, businesses, academicians, etc. They are mainly consumer (and senior) advocates. The Consumer Union (the parent organization of Consumer Reports) is one as is AARP.

    Months after enactment of Dodd Frank and just months before the scheduled start of the bureau, the President has not presented any nominees for director of the bureau to the Senate. This is most likely his alleged stall tactic to force the Senate to approve his appointment of Ms. Warren to be its first director. Admin is right; the Republicans will not be forced into approving Ms. Warren.

    AFR praises the work of the bureau to date and specifically point to Ms. Warren as a qualified potential candidate. Many believe that is their lingo for praising Ms. Warren (not the bureau) and saying she is the most qualified candidate. Technically Ms. Warren was not tapped to run the bureau but to advise the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on the running of the bureau.

    AFR also warns of one-sided Congressional inquiries which clearly identifies the political leanings of this group. While it is far left of center and clearly not Republican, many believe that this group now considers that both the Democratic Party and the President are in imminent danger of becoming too centrist. Nominating a person with a lending background would go a long way to appeasing the situation in the Senate. Unfortunately for AFR, Ms. Warren does not have that qualification.

  • Who is in AFR? The Americans for Financial Reform claims to be a broad based organization of about 250 other national and state organizations, businesses, academicians, etc. They are mainly consumer (and senior) advocates. The Consumer Union (the parent organization of Consumer Reports) is one as is AARP.

    Months after enactment of Dodd Frank and just months before the scheduled start of the bureau, the President has not presented any nominees for director of the bureau to the Senate. This is most likely his alleged stall tactic to force the Senate to approve his appointment of Ms. Warren to be its first director. Admin is right; the Republicans will not be forced into approving Ms. Warren.

    AFR praises the work of the bureau to date and specifically point to Ms. Warren as a qualified potential candidate. Many believe that is their lingo for praising Ms. Warren (not the bureau) and saying she is the most qualified candidate. Technically Ms. Warren was not tapped to run the bureau but to advise the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on the running of the bureau.

    AFR also warns of one-sided Congressional inquiries which clearly identifies the political leanings of this group. While it is far left of center and clearly not Republican, many believe that this group now considers that both the Democratic Party and the President are in imminent danger of becoming too centrist. Nominating a person with a lending background would go a long way to appeasing the situation in the Senate. Unfortunately for AFR, Ms. Warren does not have that qualification.

  • Most of you know how I feel about the Financial Regulatory Reform bill. It must be repealed/revoked. The CFPB is a dangerous move on the part of this present administration to control our entire financial system. The CFPB is also plans to go gunning for the reverse mortgage industry.

    The CFPB may not have a director in place as of yet but don’t think for one moment our President doesn’t know who that person will be! On the 25th of this month the American Bankers Association (ABA) has gone after the State Associations to request hearings on what they call, regulatory environment. In short, they are fearful over all the new regulations deluging the banking industry due to this bill and the CFPB. They have stated their concern goes as far as seeing bank failures and mergers of small community banks all over the country. This bill leads to the large monopolies and large banks ruling the roost. The long and the short of it is, this is the closest step we are taking toward socialism!

    We have only one choice, we must as an industry fight to get this bill repealed. I have asked this in the past and I am asking it again, I ask Peter Bell/NRMLA, The Reverse Mortgage Daily Post, AARP and The Reverse Review to get behind repealing this bill. This is as important as any issue we have on the table my friends.

    Thank you,

    John A. Smaldone

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