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CFPB Hearing Takes on GOP Concerns

Accusations that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is secretive and requires additional oversight were at the heart of a Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee hearing Wednesday that examined legislative proposals to address criticisms of the CFPB.

House Republicans are supporting 11 different bills that would change the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau conducts its business and oversight.

The same group of Republicans have long argued the bureau needs more accountability, with the bills reflecting their concerns from supervision of the agency to data collection.

Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said bills discussed at Wednesday’s hearing represent “a continuation of [the] committee’s efforts to make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a more transparent and accountable agency.”

Witnesses stressed additional concerns about the bureau’s governance and operations before the committee members, such as a negative impact realized by companies in response to CFPB practices. 

“The CFPB has utilized a closed decision making process, ignored or circumvented limits on its authority, and announced vague standards that provide no guidance for law-abiding companies,” said Andrew Pincus, partner in the law firm Mayer Brown LLP, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

One of the proposed measures include creating a devoted inspector general just for the CFPB. The bureau currently receives oversight from the Federal Reserve’s inspector general, but GOP lawmakers say the agency, which has 1,300 employees, requires its own watchdog.

Another bill would require the CFPB to open some of its meetings to the public.

Hester Peirce, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said the proposed changes will “help improve the way that the bureau protects consumers and works with business.”

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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