The chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Maxine Waters, told the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Kathy Kraninger, that the organization needs to do better.
The rebuke came from prepared remarks delivered at a committee hearing called “Protecting Consumers or Allowing Consumer Abuse? A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
“Let me just say at the outset that I remain very concerned about Director Kraninger’s misguided leadership of the Consumer Bureau,” Waters said. “Director Kraninger, since your confirmation as Consumer Bureau Director, you have undertaken a series of actions that have undermined the Consumer Bureau’s mission to protect consumers from harmful financial practices and products.”
Waters went on to say that she was “appalled” by Kraninger’s decision to undercut the Dodd-Frank Act’s disallowing of unfair or abusive practices, and that by doing so, Kraninger made it harder for the agency to do its job.
“With this policy statement, you have made it clear that under your watch bad actors will come first and consumers will come last,” she said. “Of course, this is consistent with your track record at the Consumer Bureau, so while I am appalled, I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, at this point, I would be surprised if you actually did something meaningful to protect consumers.”
Waters went through what she called harmful policies put forth by the CFPB, including weakening the bureau’s “payday, small-dollar and car title rule to curb abusive payday loans,” and issuing a debt collection rule that favors debt collectors.
She also took issue with“weakened reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, allowing redlining and discriminatory lending to proliferate undetected; and abandoned the Consumer Bureau’s longstanding defense of the constitutionality of its structure as an independent watchdog.”
She said the CFPB was created by Congress to protect consumers and act as a watchdog from harmful practices that led the country into the 2008 financial crisis.
“America needs better from you,” she said.