New CFPB Director Confirmation May Be Held Up by FTC Vacancy

Rohit Chopra, President Joe Biden’s full-time nominee to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), may see his confirmation in the U.S. Senate delayed due to vacancies that exist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where Chopra currently serves as a commissioner.

“Despite wide-spread expectations that the full Senate will confirm Rohit Chopra as CFPB Director before the end of [March], we now understand that the Biden Administration is likely to seek a delay in Mr. Chopra’s confirmation until it fills the FTC vacancy created by the resignation of former Chairman Joseph Simons,” writes attorney Allan Kaplinsky, consumer finance law specialist at law firm Ballard Spahr LLP.

Official portrait of FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra FTC | CC0
Rohit Chopra

Simons resigned from the FTC effective January 29, 2021, which currently leaves the makeup of the FTC evenly split between two Democrats and two Republicans. Chopra and Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter are the two remaining Democratic commissioners, with the latter serving as the acting FTC chair.

Advertisement

“If Mr. Chopra is confirmed by the Senate, he would need to resign from the FTC before he could be sworn in as CFPB Director,” Kaplinsky writes. “If President Biden does not fill Mr. Simons’ seat before Mr. Chopra resigns from the FTC, the remaining two Republican FTC Commissioners would hold a 2-1 majority since Ms. Slaughter would then be the only Democratic FTC commissioner.”

In order to avoid that potential result, “President Biden would need to appoint a new Democratic FTC commissioner to replace Simons before Chopra can be confirmed as the new CFPB director,” says Kaplinsky.

“Mr. Chopra’s resignation will create another vacancy for President Biden to fill and give Democrats a 3-2 majority,” Kaplinsky notes parenthetically at the conclusion of his article.

President Biden initially nominated Chopra to the position of CFPB director just prior to assuming office on January 20. On Inauguration Day, former full-time CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger resigned from her post at the request of the Biden administration, paving the way for a return to the enforcement posture of the Bureau previously seen under the presidency of Barack Obama and under the auspices of inaugural CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio

While Chopra awaits confirmation, Acting CFPB Director Dave Uejio has vowed to be an active leader at the Bureau while he stands in the interim director position, and has taken a number of positions to make good on this statement, including greater scrutiny of mortgage servicers in instances of possible consumer abuse.

Earlier this month, the CFPB published a new consumer guide related to reverse mortgages, which goes into detail on typical Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan obligations, while also discussing how the loan can be paid off; what happens to the home when the borrower moves out or passes away and how that affects the loan; what defaulting on a reverse mortgage means and how to find help if it occurs; and common components that should be known by a borrower’s heirs.

Read the Ballard Spahr LLP post regarding Rohit Chopra’s CFPB nomination.

Companies featured in this article: