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Waters Highlights CFPB’s Success, GOP Efforts to Dismantle It

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Washington, DC, June 18, 2014 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, commended Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray for the Bureau’s significant accomplishments in protecting our nation’s consumers and service members who have been victimized by unscrupulous corporations and financial institutions.

At today’s full committee hearing to discuss “The Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Waters cited the impressive number of enforcement actions, rulemakings  and consumer complaints handled in just three years since the CFPB opened its doors. She also attacked the Republican campaign to undermine the highly successful and popular agency. Finally, she expressed concern over issues related to diversity and discrimination at the CFPB.

Waters also responded to Chairman Hensarling’s opening remarks at the hearing, which criticized the National Mortgage Database. She pointed out the Database was actually a joint project launched in 2012 between the CFPB and then-Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Republican appointee Edward DeMarco. The Ranking Member also pointed out the hypocrisy of the Chairman’s criticism of the CFPB’s effort on the mortgage database, since the Chairman’s PATH Act actually contains a provision requiring a national mortgage data repository, with only one sentence in the Act devoted to protecting personally identifiable information for consumers.

Today marked the CFPB’s 50th appearance before Congress since its inception in 2011.

Waters’ full remarks are below and can be found here.

As prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And welcome back, Director Cordray.

Today, we once again gather to review the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report. And Mr. Director, since you were last here in January, Republicans have been hard at work – drafting and passing burdensome legislation that would gut your agency and its ability to stand up for our nation’s consumers. In the past six months, Republicans have advanced a number of these harmful measures through this committee – and this House – that would undermine the CFPB’s ability to protect consumers from deceptive marketing, unlawful debt collection, lending discrimination, illegal fees and other prohibited activity.

I’m disappointed that a package to destabilize CFPB’s leadership, end its autonomy, and tie its funding to the whims of the Congressional appropriations process made its way through the House of Representatives. If enacted into law, we would be one step closer to Republicans’ goal of ending the CFPB’s ability to protect all consumers – including students, seniors, families and service members.

And just last week, this Committee considered and passed a collection of measures designed to bog the CFPB down with additional paperwork, increasing its bureaucratic responsibilities and eliminating important tools at their disposal.

It saddens me that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have aligned themselves with Wall Street, predatory lenders and other bad actors in our financial system at the expense of protecting consumers. I know in my district, the Bureau has been helpful with all manner of constituent requests, and I’m confident that the constituents we all serve benefit from the Bureau’s expertise – despite opponents’ unwillingness to embrace its mission.

Nonetheless, Director Cordray, we welcome you on this, the CFPB’s 50th appearance before Congress since its inception in 2011. That’s nearly one appearance before Congress every three weeks.

Director Cordray, I’d like to thank you for making yourself and other senior CFPB officials available to come before this body and discuss the important issue of diversity and discrimination. While I remain disappointed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have not granted us the opportunity to speak with you on this issue sooner, I hope to hear more from you today about your progress in addressing these issues.

Mr. Director, this is the fifth time you have released a semi-annual report as called for by law. And each time, your agency has shown remarkable progress in your investigations and advocacy for American consumers.

This most recent report shows a continuation of your unprecedented record of success protecting consumers and service members.

To date, the Bureau’s enforcement actions have refunded $3.8 billion dollars directly to 12.6 million consumers. And the American public’s trust in the CFPB to fight for them has only increased, as the Bureau has received more than 354,000 consumer complaints, resolved tens of thousands of individual problems and provides answers to more than 1,000 frequently asked questions posed through its online portal, known as “Ask CFPB”.

The semi-annual report also indicates the Bureau has continued its success in enforcement actions against a wide range of institutions for unscrupulous actions. In the past year, the CFPB was a party to 31 enforcement actions for violations of law including, mortgage servicing, kickback schemes, fair lending, unfair billing tactics, and deceptive marketing.

The CFPB has issued a number of important regulations that protect consumers from predatory financial practices, while having significant success on behalf of our nation’s active-duty military. In fact, CFPB’s action and collaboration has led to over $100 million dollars in refunds to our service members.So welcome, Director Cordray. I commend you for the CFPB’s impressive track record in these few short years.”

 

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