CFPB Reform Bills Advance to Rein in Agency Power

A house committee made headway this week in its ongoing efforts to “defang” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

After months of pushback against the financial regulator and its leadership structure, which currently relies on a single director to lead the bureau, the House Financial Services Committee has completed work on six bills that would reform and limit the CFPB. 

The committee approved the legislation this week, in favor of several changes including replacing the director of the bureau with a five-member committee; establishing the CFPB as an independent agency making it subject to the annual appropriations process; and to address the way the CFPB goes about collecting consumer data, which has raised questions in the past. 

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“These are modest, common-sense bills that bring a modicum of accountability and transparency to the CFPB,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). “We know that this is an agency that was designed to be unique, if not perhaps rogue; it is an agency like no other. Arguably it is the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in the history of our nation.”

Additional targets for change include determination of pay for CFPB employees, and the introduction of an annual disclosure sent by the CFPB to consumers detailing the information the agency maintains on them.

 The bills include H.R. 2446, the Responsible Consumer Financial Protection Regulations Act of 2013; H.R. 3519, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability and Transparency Act; H.R. 2385, the CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2013; H.R. 3193, the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Act of 2013; H.R. 2571, the Consumer Right to Financial Privacy Act of 2013; and H.R. 3183.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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