CFPB Director Richard Cordray said before the American Banker Regulatory Symposium on Tuesday that the agency envisions a market where financial institutions “lead through responsible business practices” and where consumer protections and business opportunities “work in tandem.”
“We believe that such a marketplace is the right outcome for all involved, and will lead to more stable and sustainable financial conditions that strengthen the future of this country,” Cordray said.
Cordray pointed to the agency’s efforts to inform and keep financial institutions up-t0-date on its expectations, and some institutions’ integration of consumer complaint analysis into their compliance management systems.
“We applaud this sensible response as well, which will tend to minimize litigation risk, reputational risk, and regulatory risk,” Cordray said. “Through all of these means, we are bringing new levels of accountability to the consumer financial marketplace.”
Cordray said that while businesses and financial institutions must act responsibly, consumers also have a responsibility to “put themselves in a position to make sensible decisions that they can live with over the course of their lives.”
“They need to recognize that the best form of consumer protection is self-protection: avoiding problems before they occur and the damage is done,” Cordray said, adding, however, that the financial marketplace has grown more complex and financial education too scarce, making it more difficult for consumers to make good decisions. “At the Consumer Bureau, we will be working very hard to bring more visibility and sense of urgency to this topic and to insist on making tangible progress for the American people in the years ahead.”