New York, NY – U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, today hailed the first hundred days in operation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), outlined the actions the CFPB has already taken to protect consumers, and urged the U.S. Senate to approve without further delay President Obama’s nominee to lead the CFPB, Richard Cordray.
“In just its first 100 days, the CFPB has already demonstrated how it intends to go about its mission, how sorely it was needed, and how effective it can be,” Maloney said. “The bureau has begun by looking out for groups that have been especially hard-hit in the past by unfair and deceptive practices: members of the military, students, homeowners, and seniors.”
To help the brave men and women in our military, the Office of Service Member Affairs has been established under the CFPB, headed by Holly Petreaus. Petraeus has responded swiftly to complaints that mortgage servicers were illegally foreclosing on the homes of service members while they were deployed. She also reached out to the CEOs of the 25 largest mortgage servicers to stop these abusive practices directed at members of our armed forces.
“History has shown that unscrupulous merchants have often taken advantage of financially-inexperienced members of the military. But now there is a branch of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau standing guard to protect them and their families,” said Maloney.
To help students, the CFPB has drafted a new financial aid form that is easy to read and understand. It breaks down the real costs of student loans and, as the program’s title states, lets students “Know Before They Owe.” The Financial Services Roundtable has praised this move saying: “This initiative will help students know the cost of their education before borrowing by increasing transparency.”
To help homeowners, the “Know Before You Owe” program has also combined two federally-required mortgage disclosures into a redesigned, single, simpler form.
“The CFPB’s actions to help students and homebuyers will make clear the costs and risks of student loans and mortgages. Students and homeowners will be able to comparison shop for the best loan deals and better understand their commitments,” Maloney said.
To help seniors, Hubert H. (“Skip”) Humphrey III has been named to head up the newly-established Office of Older Americans. This office is tasked with improving the financial decision-making of seniors and preventing unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices targeted at seniors.
But this is not all the CFPB has accomplished in its brief life span. Later this month, it will begin a “targeted review” of regulations it inherited from other agencies, with the aim of eliminating unnecessary rules. As Raj Date, Special Advisor to the CFPB, has noted: “changes in technology, market practices, and the legal landscape may have caused some of these rules to be obsolete, unnecessary, redundant, or counterproductive.”
“The CFPB is leveling the playing field between consumers and the financial industry, making markets work more efficiently, and helping prevent the kind of financial crisis that brought on the Great Recession,” Maloney said. “The CFPB has been with us for only 100 days. Look at the difference it has already made to make risks and prices clear -- I wish it had been around for the last 100 years.”
To build on the CFPB’s recent successes, Maloney also urged the Senate to approve without further delay Richard Cordray as the Bureau’s first director. Cordray, the former Attorney General of Ohio, has defended consumers while also working to find fair and reasonable solutions for the financial industry.
“Richard Cordray needs to become the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I urge the Senate to set politics aside and approve his nomination swiftly. The American consumer needs and deserves a place at the table.
“The CFPB’s mission is to make financial transactions fairer, most honest, and more open for the American consumer. Its aim is to put an end to the kind of predatory and unfair practices that contributed so heavily to the near-collapse of our financial and banking systems. Only in the most polarized political environment could those goals be considered controversial.
“The Secretary of the Treasury has made it quite clear what a failure to confirm Mr. Cordray would mean: ‘what will happen is, it’ll leave a vast array of non-bank financial institutions … outside the scope of consumer protection, which was exactly the same mistake that left us so vulnerable to the financial crisis we went through.’
“The National Association of Attorneys General has also called for the confirmation of Mr. Cordray, calling him ‘brilliant and balanced’ -- and they should know.
“In recognition of the clear need for an agency that represents the interests of the American consumer, the CFPB’s sweeping successes in its first 100 days, and Mr. Cordray’s outstanding qualifications, I call for his quick confirmation so that the CFPB can get on with its critically-important mission,” Maloney concluded.