Ranking Member Waters Commends Cordray for CFPB Accomplishments
House Financial Services Committee Reviews Agency’s Semi-Annual Report
As prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The timing of this hearing turns out to be somewhat appropriate, however. This month, we observe the five year anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy, rooted in the risky and irresponsible lending and financial practices that brought the economy to the brink of collapse, wiped out the life savings of many of our constituents and set off a foreclosure epidemic that has left many states still struggling.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was born from that crisis, as one of the cornerstones of the Dodd-Frank Act. CFPB is now on the front lines of protecting consumers from bad actors in the financial system and ensuring nothing like what happened five years ago ever happens again.
Mr. Director, I would like to commend you on how well you have worked with a wide array of stakeholders during your tenure. For your careful leadership of this young agency, you have consistently earned praise from both consumer advocates and industry leaders. Those of us in Congress know that’s not an easy task.
Importantly, the CFPB has ensured – for the first time – that someone is monitoring a number of industries that have a history of problematic interactions with consumers. These include the hundreds of millions of consumers interacting with consumer reporting agencies, debt collectors, and payday lenders just to name a few. In just the past few months, we have seen the agency investigate and raise concerns about the harmful impact of a number of practices on consumers, including overdraft fees, private education loans, and the cycle of debt that payday and deposit advance loans can become.
Mr. Director, your agency has also finalized several mortgage rules that help guard against the risky and irresponsible lending that brought the economy to its knees just five years ago. These rules aim to protect consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending, establish strong protections for homeowners facing foreclosure and prevent lenders from steering home buyers into risky mortgages. At a time when numerous Dodd-Frank regulations have seen indefinite delays, I’m very pleased with your progress.
But Mr. Director, while your accomplishments are significant, issues such as data collection practices continue to need your attention. I believe all federal agencies, regulators, credit reporting bureaus, financial service providers and others must proceed with caution on this front, affording the highest respect to the protection of consumer privacy. CFPB is a data-driven agency, and as you know, the Dodd-Frank act specifically prohibits CFPB from gathering or analyzing any information that is personally identifiable. I trust you are carefully adhering to the letter of this law, and carefully balancing your Bureau’s duty to monitor the market with your responsibility to protect consumer privacy.
I strongly support the important work of the CFPB, and Mr. Director, I want to congratulate you for the Bureau’s impressive record of accomplishments for our nation’s consumers. I look forward to your testimony and yield back the balance of my time.”