Keep the CFPB strong
“Many on the political right want to cut the CFPB’s budget ($646 million for 2017) or get rid of the bureau altogether. Supporters of such plans hope to ‘free consumers and small businesses from the CFPB’s regulatory blockades,’ as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) noted when introducing the ‘Repeal CFPB Act’ in February.”
—“2017 CFPB Consumer Opinion Poll,” WalletHub.com
It’s fielded more than a million complaints from consumers about everything from credit reporting and credit cards to student loans and mortgages. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn’t just a personal finance version of Yelp. The bureau’s independence from Congressional oversight has allowed it to take real action against law-breaking financial institutions. For FY 2016, that amounted to around $400 million dollars in redress going to regular people whose financial lives had been hurt by bad financial practices. Without the CFPB, Wells Fargo might not have been penalized and forced to pay restitution for opening unauthorized accounts in customers’ names. Giant student loan servicer Navient might not have been called out—and sued—for misleading borrowers.
We need the CFPB as much as we did when it was created in the wake of the financial collapse. The Wallethub poll cited above just confirms this. (You’ll have to scroll down past a zillion credit card reviews to see it.) Seventy-one percent of those surveyed say consumers need more financial protection. Americans are still rattled by the recession and want to be shielded from future abuses by financial institutions. The CFPB has to remain robust and free from meddling to be that shield.