November 17, 2011
The General Counsel for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fired back this week at conservative lawmakers, while calling rigid and polarizing portrayals of the agency “abhorrent.”
The bureau’s workforce is “committed to doing our best to make wise, pragmatic decisions affecting people’s wealth” and its goal is to offer “robust services on behalf of consumers so they become better consumers,” said Leonard Kennedy, formerly of Sprint, while participating on a panel at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington.
Few CFPB leaders have spoken publically during the congressional impasse over the bureau’s directorial nominee, former Ohio AG Richard Cordray.
The economic meltdown “came close to bringing the collapse of our economic system, and it was not hard to imagine that ATMs would cease to work, checks stop working, credit cards are refused and commerce grinds to a halt,” Kennedy added.
Todd Zywicki, an economist and law professor at George Mason University, asserted that the CFPB functions as if it were “frozen during the Nixon era and sat out the past 30 years.”
“If you sat down and designed an agency with all the pathologies of bureaucracies, the CFPB would embody it,” he stated, labeling the CFPB “the most powerful in U.S. history.”
Alex Pollock, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, condemned the fact that the CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve but did add that the Dodd-Frank bill that created the CFPB is “best characterized as the faith in bureaucracy act.”
Coming to the agency’s defense was David Berenbaum, chief program officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. He argued that the bureau was encouraging regulatory transparency by inviting those in the industry to participate in the process and also praised it for supporting the loan interests of blacks, Latinos and elderly Americans.
Click here to read more of the panel’s comments on the structure of the CFPB and regulatory powers.