April 11, 2012


Director Cordray unveils “Know Before You Owe”
student loan project to South Dakota students

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) welcomed the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Richard Cordray, to Sioux Falls. Director Cordray traveled to South Dakota at the invitation of Senator Johnson who is the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. While in South Dakota, Director Cordray unveiled a national initiative aimed at helping families understand the cost of higher education and met with executives from South Dakota banks and credit unions.

“I thank Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rich Cordray and members of his team for making the trip out to South Dakota,” said Senator Johnson. “American consumers are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented individuals on their side.”

“I want to thank Chairman Johnson for inviting me to meet his constituents, for whom he advocates so well,” said Director Cordray in his prepared remarks. “I also thank him for his support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s disclosure and transparency efforts.”

At the University Center in Sioux Falls Director Cordray and met with students from Harrisburg High School and guidance counselors where he unveiled the next phase of the CFPB’s “Know Before You Owe” initiative – the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper.

A recent report found that South Dakota has the largest percentage of students leaving college with debt – an average of more than $23,000 per student. Nationally, student loan debt recently hit $1 trillion – that’s more than Americans owe on credit cards or car loans.

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/payingforcollege) is a user friendly tool that will help students and parents better understand the costs, risks, and benefits of the loans they will use to help pay for the school of their choice.

“Students’ concerns should be focused on how to get a good grade on their next test, not whether tuition costs will put them into lifelong debt,” said Chairman Johnson. “The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper is a real game changer for students and parents, and it is a perfect example of why we created the CFPB.”

“Student loan debt has crossed the $1 trillion mark and tuition continues to climb,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Now more than ever, students and their families need to know before they owe. Our Financial Aid Comparison Shopper helps students make apples to apples comparisons of their offers and pick the one that works best for their financial future.”

Chairman Johnson supported the creation of the CFPB in the Wall Street Reform bill signed into law in 2010, and the Banking Committee is responsible for oversight of the Bureau.

Congress was careful to minimize the regulatory burden on small banks and credit unions which were not the cause of the financial crisis. Senator Johnson authored a provision to require the CFPB to consider the impact of any proposed rule on small institutions and on rural consumers.

However, since its creation Senator Johnson has heard many concerns from South Dakota banks and credit union about the Bureau’s impact on their business. In response Senator Johnson invited Director Cordray to meet with executives from local banks and credit unions so Director Cordray can hear directly from them and discuss ways they can work together.

“Congressional oversight of any government agency is important, but Congress can’t accomplish that without input and feedback from those being regulated,” said Senator Johnson. “I believe that the CFPB will benefit from the input and feedback from today’s meeting with South Dakota banks and credit unions.”