House committee threatens action against CFPB for delays

Jeb Hensarling

Jeb Hensarling

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling threatened last week to take measures against the CFPB—including issuing a subpoena—over its “delay” in providing the committee with information on the agency’s policies related to indirect auto lending.

Democrats from the committee wrote to the CFPB in May requesting information from the CFPB on how it determines the existence, or lack thereof, of violations in indirect auto lending.

Hensarling said, however, in a letter to the CFPB that the agency “ignored the… specific request for information,” adding that the agency then provided “only cursory information” on its data sources in response to a separate request by House members the following June.

“With almost a year having elapsed since members of the Financial Services Committee first sought information about the Bureau’s policies on indirect auto lending, further delay in providing the Committee with information needed to fulfill its oversight responsibilities is unacceptable,” Hensarling said.

Hensarling said if the CFPB does not provide the committee with the requested information by March 13, the committee may then take action to force the agency to respond to the requests—including issuing subpoenas.

“By refusing to disclose this information, the Bureau has also introduced unnecessary uncertainty into the auto lending market, which can only detrimentally affect consumers’ access to affordable credit,” Hensarling said. “Only the Bureau’s increased transparency, as opposed to its pattern of obfuscation detailed above, will advance our shared goal of eliminating potential discrimination in the auto lending market.”

The CFPB has ramped up oversight of auto lending through dealer-affiliated firms, which is known as indirect lending. In December, the agency, along with the Department of Justice, ordered Ally to pay $80 million in damages to minority borrowers over its alleged discriminatory pricing.

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