CRAPO ON CFPB'S SEMI-ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
June 10, 2014
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks during the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s semi-annual report to Congress:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Today, we welcome back Director Cordray to discuss the most recent Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In recent months, the CFPB has laid out a broad and ambitious rulemaking agenda that will considerably affect many consumer financial products and services. As the CFPB proceeds with rules targeting short term and small dollar credit, overdraft protection, auto financing, mortgage servicing and settlement, and arbitration, it must fully understand how these rules will affect the cost and availability of credit for consumers. The CFPB must also commit to taking a balanced approach and performing a thorough qualitative and quantitative cost-benefit analysis for each rule.
I am concerned that many of the CFPB’s recent proposals and actions will continue to push mainstream financial products into unregulated areas, diminish consumer choice, and make certain products unaffordable. Those outcomes could come at great cost to the consumer and must be prevented.
As the Director is aware, another initiative that is of great concern to me is the CFPB’s Big Data collection. In the past, I have asked simple questions regarding the CFPB’s data collection such as how many consumer accounts the CFPB is monitoring and how it intends to use the personal information it collects. Unfortunately, my calls for transparency have been met with ramped up efforts by the Bureau.
This April, I learned that the Federal Housing Finance Agency and CFPB will expand the jointly-run National Mortgage Database to include a person’s religion, social security number, major life events, and to link other lines of consumer credit together on potentially hundreds of millions of loans. This information is undoubtedly intrusive, unnecessary, and is contrary to the CFPB’s public statements of not collecting and using personally identifiable information.
Adding concern is the admission by the FHFA’s project manager for the Database that the information in it would be “easy to reverse engineer.” Moreover, the FHFA and CFPB have already publicly indicated that borrowers do not have the opportunity or right to opt out of the database.
Finally, the recent reports about employment discrimination at the CFPB are deeply troubling. Two CFPB-commissioned independent, external reports and a testimony from a whistleblower highlight CFPB’s failure of the employment rating and compensation system and unacceptable conduct of certain Bureau managers.
Today, we will discuss how this occurred, why it took months for the CFPB to acknowledge and act upon these independent reports, and what additional steps the CFPB is taking to increase transparency and accountability. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.