November 30, 2017

USA Today Op-Ed: Don't let Trump & Wall Street gut consumer protection bureau

The agency helps people fight abuse by financial institutions. The president circumvented the law to name an acting director who wants to hobble it.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, people were tricked, squeezed, misled and outright cheated by a lot of lenders. Wall Street banks handed out mortgages they knew their customers couldn't repay. Credit card companies hid dangerous traps deep in the fine print of their contracts. Student loan servicers caught students and graduates in tangles of debt with high interest rates. And after sucking billions in profits out of the pockets of hardworking people, the financial giants crashed the economy, costing millions of Americans their homes, their jobs and their savings.

In the aftermath of the crisis, Congress passed the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to make sure banks could never again bring the U.S. economy to its knees. As part of that law, Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency had one job: to protect the American people from financial tricks and traps.


Now Trump is trying to bend the rules to get an edge in the big banks' fight against the CFPB. When Congress wrote the Dodd-Frank Act, it set out a clear succession plan: When the CFPB director resigns, the deputy director becomes acting director until the Senate confirms a new, full-time director. So last week, when the agency's first director, Richard Cordray, resigned, Deputy Director Leandra English became the acting director. Period. Former congressman Barney Frank - one of the principal architects of Dodd-Frank - has explained that Congress deliberately wrote the law this way to protect the agency from political influence from either party, and that English clearly is authorized to assume the role.


Read the full op-ed on the USA Today website here.


By:  Senator Elizabeth Warren
Source: USA Today