The Fate of the CFPB is Now in Donald Trump’s Hands
“Buyer beware” is a phrase we’re all familiar with. And while being responsible consumers is in everyone’s best interest, there’s only so much we can do when the ones ripping us off are massive corporations like banks, credit reporting agencies, and mortgage lenders.
Enter the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was formed under the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, as a way to insulate consumers from the kind of abuses that led to the economic crisis of the late 2000s. The CFPB was the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who believed that financial products should be subject to the same scrutiny as any other consumer product.
With Richard Cordray at the helm, the Bureau spent the next six years holding powerful financial institutions accountable for abusing their power. The CFPB reined in banks, payday lenders, and debt collectors, making some powerful enemies along the way.
Last week, Richard Cordray announced that he would be stepping down from his role as Director of the CFPB, with pundits speculating a run for governor of Ohio in his future. Cordray’s departure as the government’s top financial watchdog leaves massive shoes to fill. The absolutely terrifying part is that the fate of the CFPB is now in Donald Trump’s hands.
Regardless of your opinion of the 45th President of the United States, it’s hard to deny that he has a tendency to fill positions with candidates who have been openly critical of the departments they now control:
- Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry advocated for dismantling the Department of Energy, and later reportedly admitted he had no idea the department was tasked with overseeing the country’s nuclear arsenal.
- Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA Administrator, repeatedly sued the EPA in an attempt to roll back environmental regulations.
- Betsy DeVos not only has no experience in public education, she’s also spent much of her adult life actively trying to destroy it.
With a team like this, which was not-so-affectionately referred to as the crew of a pirate ship by comedy icon John Cleese, people are understandably worried about the fate of the CFPB. And with early reporting speculating that Trump is considering Mick Mulvaney, a man who once referred to the Bureau as “a sad, sick joke,” that concern seems well-founded.
It’s more vital than ever for consumers to be aware of deceptive and predatory financial practices, because “buyer beware” may soon become official policy.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore