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Waters Speaks Out on CFPB’s Strong Record of Consumer Protection

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Washington, DC, January 28, 2014 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, commended Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray for the Bureau’s significant accomplishments in protecting our nation’s consumers and service members who have been victimized by unscrupulous corporations and financial institutions.

At today’s full committee hearing to discuss “The Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Waters cited the impressive number of enforcement actions, rulemakings  and consumer complaints handled in just over two years since the CFPB’s inception. She also attacked the Republican campaign to undermine the highly successful and popular Bureau.

Director Cordray was the sole witness at the hearing. Ranking Member Waters’ full remarks are below.

As prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome Director Cordray, on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) 46th appearance before Congress since its inception in 2011.

Despite the Bureau’s extensive engagement with this Committee, over the past few years the CFPB has managed to do more than just testify before Congress. To the contrary, the CFPB has built an unprecedented record of success protecting our nation’s consumers and service members who have been victimized by unscrupulous corporations and financial institutions.

In fact, the Bureau’s enforcement actions have resulted in over $3 billion being directly refunded to nearly 10 million consumers and service members.

And the CFPB has earned the trust of the American public. It has received more than 269,000 consumer complaints, resolved tens of thousands of individual problems and answered more than 1,000 questions posed through its online portal.

Director Cordray, you are here today to discuss findings of your semi-annual report, which shows the Bureau’s continued success and effectiveness on behalf of consumers.

In fact, the report shows that in just a one-year period, the CFPB received approximately 122,000 consumer complaints on issues ranging from mortgages, credit cards and banking services to credit reporting and student loans.

These issues matter to our nation’s consumers -- and the CFPB is ensuring that when it comes to these industries, protecting consumers is the Bureau’s top priority.

Moreover we know that when consumers complain, companies listen.

Recently, the CFPB has issued a number of important regulations that protect consumers from predatory financial practices.

Most notable is the Qualified Mortgage rule, which protects consumers by requiring that lenders only make mortgage loans to those who can afford to repay them over the long-term.

The semi-annual report also indicates the Bureau has continued its unprecedented success in enforcement actions against a wide range of institutions for unscrupulous actions. In fiscal year 2013, the CFPB was a party to 13 enforcement actions related to deceptive marketing, unlawful debt collection, discrimination, unlawful fees, and fraudulent mortgage relief schemes.

I’m truly proud of the CFPB’s outstanding success on behalf of our nation’s active-duty military, restoring more than $12.5 million to service members.

I was particularly pleased to see that in November of last year, the CFPB took its first enforcement action against a payday lender – ordering Cash America to refund $14 million to consumers for overcharging our service members and robo-signing court documents in debt collection lawsuits.  These actions are important and must continue.

In the midst of significant Republican scrutiny into “potential” data breaches at CFPB and other agencies, the CFPB has actually helped consumers protect themselves from fraud and identity theft in actual breaches, such as the recent incident at Target and other major retailers.

So Director Cordray, I’d like to commend you for the CFPB’s impressive track record in these few short years.

But despite all these successes, Republican attacks on the CFPB continue unrelenting. Their campaign to undermine the Bureau is nothing more than a disservice to our nation’s consumers and our men and women in uniform.

I look forward to the witness’ testimony and yield back.


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