Lee Stroh February 1, 2021

Newsletter - February 2021

The day before his inauguration, President Joe Biden nominated veteran financial regulator Rohit Chopra to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

An ally of Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chopra served as assistant director at the agency, where he was a fierce critic of how student-loan servicers handled struggling borrowers. His nomination as the new CFPB director is seen as a win for Democrats who are seeking more aggressive oversight of the financial industry.

“I am confident that Mr. Chopra will not only return the CFPB to its central mission – protecting consumers – but also ensure the agency plays a leading role in combating racial inequities in our financial system,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

If confirmed by the Senate, the new CFPB director will likely send the agency swinging to the left, creating a pendulum effect that prevents consistent regulation and stifles innovation in the financial industry.

Chopra, Warren, and others who align with them “dislike or disdain the big banks and large mortgage banks, yet push for more rules and regulations which favor large institutions at the expense of smaller companies that don’t have extensive compliance departments,” wrote Rob Chrisman in Mortgage News Daily. Big banks will complain about the regulation, he continued, but the brunt of the cost will be passed on to the consumer, while small lenders are priced out of the market.

“I wouldn’t expect a return to the Richard Cordray era of ‘regulation by enforcement,’” said attorney Brian Levy. “Mr. Chopra is a strong consumer advocate and has experience with the CFPB that will allow him to hit the ground running were he to be confirmed, so I also expect that he will set whatever new tone the agency will have very early in his tenure.”

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