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ABA calls for accountability changes at the CFPB

American Bankers Association COO Michael J. Hunter testified before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit on Thursday, providing suggestions to increase accountability at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Hunter made note of several bills currently before Congress that would achieve such a goal, particularly H.R. 1355, which reassigns the CFPB under the U.S. Treasury where the agency’s fund allocations would be monitored and overseen.

In his address to the panel, Hunter posed questions as to how to ensure the CFPB is accountable and that funds are fully disclosed and used appropriately.

“The [CFPB] will play a pivotal role in setting new rules that will affect access and availability of consumer financial products,” Hunter said.. “We strongly support an effective mechanism of checks and balances for the [CFPB], and we applaud congressional efforts to achieve this goal.”

Hunter also suggested the creation of a five member board to replace CFPB Director Richard Cordray, whose degree of authority over the agency has recently been in question. Last year the House passed a bill that would create such a commission to ensure that the CFPB is subject to oversight.

“We believe such a structural change would provide an effective check and balance,” Hunter said. “As the law is currently written, the [CFPB]‘s director has sole authority to decide the direction and parameters of the consumer financial product market. This vests far too much power in one person to fundamentally alter the financial choices available to consumers.”

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