July 22, 2013

Springfield Republican Editorial: Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will give people a chance

Conducting a financial transaction should not feel like performing a high-wire act. Blindfolded. Without a net.

But for many people, lots of financial doings can seem perilously akin to that. You sign here. And here and here and here. Pages flash by in a blur.

Suppose you are getting a mortgage from a reputable lender. Suppose further that you've got yourself a good lawyer. All is clear. Everything has been spelled out. The whole shebang makes sense - and your worries subside. But what if you are dealing with a shady, fly-by-night lending outfit that is looking to put one over on you. Would you stand a chance? Many wouldn't.

Which is where the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes in. The agency, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, who has since been elected to the U.S. Senate from the Bay State, was established two years ago. But it's been running without a head, as Republicans refused to approve President Barack Obama's choice for bureau chief, Richard Cordray.

Thankfully, when a deal was brokered to end a standoff over Senate rules on the filibuster, the door was opened for Cordray to be confirmed as agency chief.

And the consumers will finally have someone on their side. The financial waters can be turbulent. And there are not a few sharks just offshore.

While there are countless scrupulous lenders, folks playing by the rules and taking care to see that everyone knows what's going on, there are also more than a few sketchy financial outfits playing fast and loose, looking to make money by taking advantage of financial complexities that they are able to hide from consumers.

The people need protection from this set - the bogus lenders and payday loan outfits and the like - but up to now had nowhere to get it.

Read the editorial at the Springfield Republican website here.