Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement during a full Committee hearing entitled, “The Semi-Annual Report of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.”
Good morning. I’d like to welcome Director Rohit Chopra back to our Committee and applaud the excellent work the CFPB has done under your leadership to protect our nation’s consumers. I am also pleased that this upcoming Saturday, Director Chopra will join me in my district in Los Angeles for a town hall meeting with my constituents to discuss consumer protections and access to banking products and services. We will also hear from senior executives from Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, City National Bank, and local stakeholders.
While the Senate is moving forward with a hearing featuring big bank CEOs next week, I am very disappointed that this Committee is breaking with the tradition I established as Chairwoman to hold the same hearing. Our Members deserve the same opportunity to conduct oversight of our nation’s big banks. I hope the Chairman will reconsider his decision and convene the CEOs for a hearing as soon as possible.
Now, as the Solicitor General argued before the Supreme Court in October, the CFPB’s funding structure is constitutional and gutting the only agency dedicated to protecting our nation’s consumers in the financial marketplace will harm our economy and communities.
The lawsuit before the Supreme Court is part of a broader extremist effort by House Republicans to undermine and defund critical government agencies and programs, even Social Security and Medicare. To be clear, every single court that has reviewed CFPB’s funding has reaffirmed its validity – other than the extremist Fifth Circuit. Committee Democrats urge our nation’s Justices to stand with the 82% of Americans, including 77% of Republicans who want the agency to continue doing its job.
It is no mystery why the CFPB has such broad bipartisan support. It has cracked down on financial institutions that repeatedly engage in abusive practices, held lenders accountable for discriminating against borrowers, taken action to remove medical debt from credit reports, eliminated junk fees, increased access to capital for small businesses – particularly businesses of color, and more.
Unfortunately, this week, House Republicans have launched an effort to harm small businesses and help the big banks continue to price gouge them by overturning CFPB’s small business lending rule, which implements Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act that I worked on with Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez. This section requires lenders to collect and report data on small business lending, similar to what they already do for mortgage lending. This would help reduce borrowing costs for small businesses by creating a more transparent, competitive marketplace and combat discriminatory lending practices. I am disappointed that Republicans are moving forward with this anti-small business effort, and I would remind my colleagues that market transparency is a fundamental pillar of free market capitalism and that is exactly what this rule is focused on.
So, I look forward to hearing from Director Chopra about the importance of this rule and the other good work of the CFPB.
I yield back.