House Financial Services Committee chairmen question CFPB positions, obligations

Shelley Moore Capito

Two chairmen of the House Financial Services subcommittees wrote Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray on Wednesday asking for his assurance in conducting a thorough analysis before issuing CFPB rulings.

“[We] would like your assurance that the CFPB will conduct rigorous, transparent cost-benefit analysis whenever it drafts a new rule,” the letter reads.

Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, as well as Chairman Randy Neugebauer of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, also asked Cordray to respond to a number of questions pertaining to CFPB obligations and responsibilities within three weeks of receiving the letter.

The letter asks Cordray whether the CFPB has a “statutory obligation…to determine as best it can the economic implications” of a rule that the agency is considering. The letter also asks whether the CFPB would adopt a rule only if the mandate’s benefits outweigh the costs.

The chairmen further question if the CFPB is considered an “independent regulatory agency” for the purposes of an executive order that stipulates that independent agencies are not subject to compliance with certain regulatory framework established by the order. Additionally, the chairmen ask Cordray to specify which, if any, principles of the executive order that the agency plans to comply with.

The letter also refers to the controversy surrounding President Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray to CFPB director.

“The actions that the CFPB undertakes now—even though the CFPB may not have the legal authority to take them — will directly affect consumers and businesses across the country,” the letter reads. “It is therefore critical that Congress, and the American public, be assured that the CFPB will carefully consider the costs and benefits of its actions.”

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