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Ranking Member Waters Commends Cordray for CFPB Accomplishments

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Washington, DC, September 12, 2013 | comments

House Financial Services Committee Reviews Agency’s Semi-Annual Report

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following opening statement at today's full Committee hearing to discuss “The Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).” The hearing featured CFPB Director Richard Corday.

Ranking Member Waters commended Director Cordray for the CFPB’s significant success thus far, as well as his commitment to working with a wide array of stakeholders during his tenure. In just two short years, CFPB’s enforcement actions have resulted in $432 million being directly refunded to more than 6 million consumers. The agency has also finalized several mortgage rules that help guard against the irresponsible lending that brought the economy to the brink of collapse just five years ago.

Waters also criticized House Republicans for playing politics with consumer protection. The Wall Street Reform law requires the CFPB director appear before the Committee on Financial Services every six months to discuss the agency’s semi-annual report, which was released back in March. Chairman Hensarling has refused to allow Director Cordray to testify until today – nearly six months late. 

As prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Director Cordray, congratulations again on your confirmation. I am so pleased that you are here today. Your presence before this Committee is long overdue, particularly after the nearly six months of Republican obstruction that has threatened consumer protection just to score cheap political points. 
As you know, the Wall Street Reform law requires the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to appear before this Committee every six months to discuss the agency’s semi-annual report. The report you are here to discuss today was released back in March. Unfortunately, at that time we were denied the benefit of your perspective.
 

The timing of this hearing turns out to be somewhat appropriate, however. This month, we observe the five year anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy, rooted in the risky and irresponsible lending and financial practices that brought the economy to the brink of collapse, wiped out the life savings of many of our constituents and set off a foreclosure epidemic that has left many states still struggling.
 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was born from that crisis, as one of the cornerstones of the Dodd-Frank Act. CFPB is now on the front lines of protecting consumers from bad actors in the financial system and ensuring nothing like what happened five years ago ever happens again.
 

Mr. Director, I would like to commend you on how well you have worked with a wide array of stakeholders during your tenure. For your careful leadership of this young agency, you have consistently earned praise from both consumer advocates and industry leaders. Those of us in Congress know that’s not an easy task.
Your leadership has resulted in achievements at the Bureau that cannot be understated. In just two short years, the CFPB’s enforcement actions have resulted in $432 million being directly refunded to over 6 million consumers victimized by unscrupulous actors in the financial system.
 

Importantly, the CFPB has ensured – for the first time – that someone is monitoring a number of industries that have a history of problematic interactions with consumers. These include the hundreds of millions of consumers interacting with consumer reporting agencies, debt collectors, and payday lenders just to name a few. In just the past few months, we have seen the agency investigate and raise concerns about the harmful impact of a number of practices on consumers, including overdraft fees, private education loans, and the cycle of debt that payday and deposit advance loans can become.
 

Mr. Director, your agency has also finalized several mortgage rules that help guard against the risky and irresponsible lending that brought the economy to its knees just five years ago. These rules aim to protect consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending, establish strong protections for homeowners facing foreclosure and prevent lenders from steering home buyers into risky mortgages. At a time when numerous Dodd-Frank regulations have seen indefinite delays, I’m very pleased with your progress.
 

But Mr. Director, while your accomplishments are significant, issues such as data collection practices continue to need your attention. I believe all federal agencies, regulators, credit reporting bureaus, financial service providers and others must proceed with caution on this front, affording the highest respect to the protection of consumer privacy. CFPB is a data-driven agency, and as you know, the Dodd-Frank act specifically prohibits CFPB from gathering or analyzing any information that is personally identifiable. I trust you are carefully adhering to the letter of this law, and carefully balancing your Bureau’s duty to monitor the market with your responsibility to protect consumer privacy.
 

I strongly support the important work of the CFPB, and Mr. Director, I want to congratulate you for the Bureau’s impressive record of accomplishments for our nation’s consumers. I look forward to your testimony and yield back the balance of my time.
 

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