In opening remarks during today’s full Committee hearing with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, praised the agency’s work to diligently protect consumers and ensure fairness in the financial system, even in the face of Republican efforts to undermine, eliminate and render the agency ineffective.
Waters noted in her remarks the agency’s tremendous track record, delivering $11.2 billion in relief to 25.5 million American consumers and service members since its inception in 2011.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Director Cordray, for joining us again to discuss the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s semi-annual report to Congress.
The Bureau’s accomplishments under your leadership have helped more Americans participate in a financial system that is fair and strong. The work that you do is so important because it means that consumers can access the financial products and services they need to live prosperous lives without the risk of deceptive or abusive practices. It also means that consumers can have recourse when they have been wronged and recoup any finances they may have lost.
Those accomplishments are reflected in the $11.2 billion dollars you have returned to 25.5 million Americans. They are reflected in the 830,000 consumer complaints you have handled on issues from debt collection to credit reporting. They are reflected in the increased share of mortgages made to minority borrowers in recent years and the expansion of access to credit cards – despite Republican claims to the contrary. Director Cordray, you are helping consumers succeed to the benefit of the entire financial system.
I’d like to highlight a few of these particularly important efforts.
I am encouraged by the Bureau’s work so far on payday lending, including soliciting input from small businesses on the forthcoming regulations. We need rules that will protect low-income and minority communities from unreasonable loan terms and unaffordable rates. Despite modest efforts by some states to curb predatory practices, most payday loans are simply used to help pay off another payday loan. We must stop this debt trap and we must fight any efforts to weaken, rollback, or stop the CFPB’s upcoming rule.
The Bureau has also led the charge against the discrimination that still exists in the auto lending industry. We should be doing all we can to prevent minority borrowers from being charged higher interest rates and from overpaying on their auto loans. Unfortunately, too many members of Congress have been misled by Republican arguments against the data and methodology used by the CFPB in this important work. While Republicans are attempting to protect lenders, the Bureau has fined banks and captive lenders such as Toyota, Honda and Fifth-Third Bank for discriminatory practices.
Additionally, in the months since its last report, the Bureau has successfully won a case against an unscrupulous for-profit college that deceived students into taking out expensive private loans and engaging in illegal debt collection practices. As you know, I have worked on this issue my entire career. Just recently, the Department of Education announced a proposal to ban mandatory arbitration in student lending. I hope the Bureau will follow in their footsteps by offering this protection not only to students, but also to Americans that have found these unfair clauses in their credit cards, prepaid cards, bank accounts and mobile phone contracts.
Despite a successful track record of helping consumers – whether looking to buy a car, own a home, or attend college – Republicans have turned the CFPB into a political punching bag, attempting to undermine its work at every turn.
This tactic is at odds with the public’s support for the CFPB and the Bureau’s efforts to remain accountable and transparent. I’d like to remind my colleagues that the CFPB has now testified 59 times before Congress since it was created, issued more than 40 reports on its activities in the last year alone, and provided tens of thousands of documents in response to a never-ending list of Republican fishing expeditions.
Director Cordray, I look forward to hearing your testimony on how the Bureau continues to help consumers and improve our economy. I yield back the balance of my time.