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Waters at Semi-Annual Full Committee Hearing Overseeing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “The CFPB Is Finally Back on Track”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Consumers First: Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Good morning. Today, we welcome Mr. Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, before our Committee.
Under your leadership, I’m pleased that the CFPB is finally back on track. I commend your recent efforts to crack down on large financial firms that repeatedly break the law and harm individual consumers and working families. The practice of slapping a fine on a recidivist corporation while they rake in large profits should not be tolerated anymore; there must be serious consequences and structural reforms to prevent these kinds of repeat offenses.
Under my leadership, this Committee has done extensive work to investigate and address compliance failures by Wells Fargo that hurt millions of consumers. Our work resulted in new board leadership and management being installed, as well as former Fed Chair Janet Yellen imposing an unprecedented asset cap on the bank in February 2018 that remains in place to this day.
I am heartened that you are building on our efforts by seeking to hold more corporations accountable with lawsuits filed against TransUnion and MoneyGram for repeatedly breaking the law. And I hope these efforts will put other large firms on alert and encourage your banking regulator counterparts to similarly use their full suite of enforcement tools.
Furthermore, I applaud the CFPB’s work to put an end to discrimination and ensure fairness in small business and consumer lending. Specifically, I look forward to learning about the CFPB’s progress in finalizing the Section 1071 rulemaking that requires lenders to collect demographic data on credit applications from small businesses. This data will be critical to our efforts to root out discrimination against minority-owned, women-owned, and LGBTQ-plus owned firms.
In addition, it is important that the CFPB combat predatory payday lenders, and closely monitor student loan servicers as well as mortgage servicers that strip America’s consumers of their hard-earned dollars. On this last point, we should do all we can to prevent unnecessary foreclosures, especially for Black and Latinx homeowners, who are more likely to still be managing the end of a forbearance plan. I hope you will comment today on your efforts to coordinate with the Administration to ensure struggling homeowners can access the $10 billion myself and members of this Committee secured in the American Rescue Plan to help them stay current during the pandemic.
Moreover, I commend your work to examine the “junk fees” that financial institutions charge consumers. And let’s not forget the role of the CFPB in promoting responsible innovation. With the rise of financial technology, I’m so happy, Director Chopra, that the agency is taking action to prevent low-income consumers and consumers of color from being discriminated against by the redlining practices or algorithmic bias that may be present at some tech firms.
Lastly, I applaud your work on the FDIC Board, ensuring that the agency also fulfills its statutory mission even when a Chair unlawfully attempts to thwart the will of the Board’s majority to solicit public comment on strengthening bank merger reviews.
So, Director, I look forward to your testimony and hearing about the CFPB’s priorities under your leadership.