On Wednesday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “Consumers First: Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” where CFPB Director, Rohit Chopra, testified before the Committee as part of the agency’s semi-annual report to Congress. During the hearing, Chairwoman Waters and Committee Democrats heard from Director Chopra about the work the CFPB is doing to protect consumers and hold financial institutions accountable for abusive practices that harm consumers. Chairwoman Waters also stressed the importance of the CFPB, particularly as Republicans continue to attack the agency and its mission to ensure that all consumers are treated fairly.
Left: Director Rohit Chopra
The Committee heard in detail from Director Chopra about the work the agency has done over the past year to support the priorities that Committee Democrats have long been pushing for:
Standing up for consumers. Committee Democrats are leading the way in the fight to support consumers, and CFPB has followed suit by holding mortgage lenders accountable for illegal practices like redlining and housing discrimination; protecting families from illegal eviction or foreclosures; working to root out appraisal bias, once and for all, and ensure that automated appraisal models are accurate and fair.
Cracking down on repeat offenders. The CFPB has taken several enforcement actions against repeat offenders like TransUnion, Bank of America, Carrington Mortgage Services, MoneyGram, FirstCash, CashWest, ACE Cash Express, and venture capital-backed fintech LendUp.
Fighting to give harmed consumers the relief they deserve. The CFPB has taken more than 20 enforcement actions against financial companies on behalf of consumers and the results have been incredible. As it stands, the agency has secured $275 million in total consumer redress and $270 million in civil money penalties.
Combatting the negative effect of medical debt. Committee Democrats have long sounded the alarm on the crushing impact of medical debt on communities across the nation. The CFPB’s efforts to expose the burden of medical debt on consumers have led to recent policy changes by Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, to remove 70% of medical debt from consumer credit reports.
Holding credit reporting companies accountable. Credit reporting systems are riddled with problems, including inaccuracies and the inclusion of junk data. Committee Democrats have proposed much-needed reforms to repair this broken and biased system. The CFPB has swung into action to tackle this problem by issuing guidance to ensure those problems no longer hurt customers’ access to credit, housing, and jobs.
Help small businesses secure access to credit. Small businesses are the engines of our economy, creating jobs and wealth in our communities. The CFPB is finalizing rules to increase transparency in the lending marketplace, which will help root out discrimination in lending and direct resources to help small businesses gain access to the credit they need and deserve.
Taking action against overdraft fees. Following Committee Democrats’ efforts to rein in excessive overdraft fee practices, the CFPB’s efforts to shine a spotlight on the financial burdens junk fees and overdraft fees have on families have sparked competition and changes in overdraft fee policies at major financial institutions. Estimates show that consumers will save $3 billion every year due to recent changes in banks’ overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee policies.