Sam Gendusa November 9, 2021

Newsletter - November 2021

That sound you heard on Sept. 30 was the collective groan of the mortgage industry upon learning the Senate confirmed Rohit Chopra as CFPB director for the next five years.

Experts in consumer finance expect Chopra to step up the agency’s enforcement activities after Kathy Kraninger’s relatively quiet stint as director under the Trump administration. “It’s very likely that Chopra would return the CFPB to the rogue, unaccountable, anti-business agency it was during the Obama administration,” said Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Chopra worked with Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren to establish the CFPB and served on the Bureau from 2010-2015 as assistant director and student loan ombudsman under its first director, Richard Cordray. During Cordray’s tenure, the agency recovered nearly $12 billion in fines from banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

In 2018, Chopra was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Since then, the FTC has initiated lawsuits and administrative actions against the lending, debt collection, gift card, and student debt relief industries.

“We have no doubt that Chopra will enjoy his second stint at the CFPB,” wrote the attorneys at the consumer financial services practice Troutman Pepper,“as the limitations set forth in the Supreme Court’s ruling against the FTC in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission do not apply to the CFPB.”

Toomey said the new CFPB director had a “hostile relationship with lenders” during his earlier tenure with the Bureau and in his work at the Federal Trade Commission, and will bring the CFPB back to “rulemaking by enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Democrats are singing the new CFPB director’s praises. “He is a terrific champion for consumers & will be a fearless leader of the Bureau,” Tweeted Sen. Warren.

“At a time when consumers need a strong watchdog, Mr. Chopra will be an advocate for working families,” said House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters.

Noting the uncertainty leadership changes have created in the Bureau, Consumer Bankers Association chief executive Richard Hunt said Chopra should “put an end to the political pendulum swing.”

“Under Director Chopra’s leadership, the Bureau should strive for financial regulations that last longer than a power shift in Washington,” Hunt said.

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