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Committee Holds Hearing on CFPB’s Actions to Protect Consumers During COVID-19 Crisis

Committee Holds Hearing on CFPB’s Actions to Protect Consumers During COVID-19 Crisis

July 30, 2020 

Today, the House Committee on Financial Services is holding a hybrid hearing with the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Kathy Kraninger, on the Bureau’s work to protect consumers during the coronavirus crisis.

Watch Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (NC-10) and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer’s (MO-3) opening remarks here.

Excerpts from Ranking Republican Patrick McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Today, Committee Democrats are asking a question. Is the CFPB protecting consumers both during and outside of the pandemic?

“And, looking at the facts and recent actions taken by the Bureau, I think I can answer my colleagues’ question simply: yes, they are.

“Despite what Democrats may say to score political points, the CFPB—under your leadership—Director Kraninger, has worked diligently to provide resources, guidance, and protection for consumers most at risk in these unsettling times. The Bureau has:

• Encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers;

• Provided increased flexibility in supervision and enforcement activities;

• Clarified guidance to mortgage servicers to comply with CARES Act forbearance requirements;

• Created an Elder Fraud Prevention and Response Networks Development Guide;

• Released an updated COVID-19 Consumer Complaint Data Bulletin;

• Outlined the roles and responsibilities of credit reporting companies and furnishers; and

• Created a consumer relief guide for mortgage payment forbearance and foreclosure protection.

“These are just a few of the CFPB’s pandemic-related initiatives.

“Lastly, Director Kraninger, as we’ve discussed in the past, my colleagues and I believe you have too much power. This power is unchecked by Congress or the President. You even agreed with me.

“Since Dodd-Frank’s enactment, Republicans have argued the Bureau’s structure is unconstitutional and the funding mechanism leaves it unaccountable to anyone.

“This past June, the Supreme Court agreed with what Republicans have been saying all along. In striking down the structure created by the Democrats in 2010, the Supreme Court found the Director holds too much power and violates the separation of powers.

“We now have a real opportunity to work together to bring necessary statutory reforms to the CFPB. Reforms that will benefit consumers and bring clear guidance to industry so that they may better serve their customers. I ask my colleagues across the aisle to join us in taking this opportunity to create a bipartisan commission consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Ranking Member Luetkemeyer’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court confirmed the unconstitutional structure of the CFPB by ruling the CFPB Director can be fired at will by the President of the United States.

“The structure and unprecedented authority of the CFPB have turned it into a political football that will no doubt swing back and forth on the political pendulum creating uncertainty and confusion for financial institutions and consumers for decades to come.

“That is why I have introduced legislation to change the leadership structure of the CFPB from a single director that can be fired at will, to a bipartisan 5-member commission.

“Just last Congress, this legislation enjoyed bipartisan support in this Committee. However, in the 116th Congress, this commonsense solution has only garnered support from my Republican Colleagues.

“Changing the leadership structure and increasing government oversight of the CFPB are vital to protect businesses and consumers and I look forward to discussing those issues today.”

Watch the virtual hearing live here.

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