CFPB considers which non-bank industries to regulate

Elizabeth Warren

White House adviser Elizabeth Warren is in charge of setting up the CFPB. Image: Leader Nancy Pelosi/Flickr/CC BY

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is set to open next month in spite of attempts by Republican Senators to stop it. The bureau, which is the result of last year’s Dodd-Frank Act, is seeking input as to which financial entities it needs to regulate in addition to banks.

Bureau to police the consumer financial industry

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau, states that it will regulate banks with more than $10 billion in assets as well as payday lenders and non-bank providers of home and student loans. The act does not define, however, what other “larger participants” of the financial markets it should cover.

Created by the Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a federal statute that President Obama signed into law July 21, 2010. The law seeks to regulate the financial services industry to an unprecedented degree. From it, the CFPB was born, under White House adviser Elizabeth Warren. The stated mission of the bureau is to “make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are requesting a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”

“Consumers deserve the peace of mind that financial companies — both banks and non-banks — are following the rules,” said Warren. The bureau has until July 2012 to determine which industries will be regulated and in what ways.

Non-bank industries to be targeted

In a statement released Thursday, the bureau stated several “larger participants” that could be targeted. Those include consumer credit and related activities, consumer reporting, check-cashing, money transmitting, debt-relief services and prepaid cards. However, the bureau is also asking for input into which industries it should oversee.

Republican resistance

The bureau has met resistance from the start by Capitol Hill conservatives. The bureau can’t begin its work until a permanent director has been appointed, and some Senate Republicans have vowed to block anyone the president may nominate for the job. The bureau, however, is continuing to lay its foundation for the scheduled opening on July 21.

Bureau opposed by banks

Bank lobbies have also opposed the creation of the bureau, arguing that it will lead to fewer loans and fewer financial choices for consumers. They say it will have a negative effect on economic growth.


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