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Rep. Patrick McHenry Says CFPB Vilifies Financial Services Industry

House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chairman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina said Wednesday (Nov. 29) the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is serving as a political actor rather than an independent financial regulator.

The agency has become “a hyper-partisan agency doing the bidding of the White House rather than protecting American consumers,” McHenry said in prepared remarks delivered during a Wednesday hearing with CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.

“The ongoing barrage of press releases from the CFPB is misleading at best,” McHenry said. “They all too often paint with a broad brush to vilify entire sectors of the financial services industry, and even the U.S. financial system as a whole — rather than targeting bad actors.”

The CFPB has also made changes that it doesn’t have authority to make, McHenry said. He pointed to the 1071 rule regarding small business data collection, saying the rule goes beyond the CFPB’s statutory authority and requires “onerous amounts” of information to facilitate the “naming and shaming” of lenders.

“That’s why House Republicans will pass a resolution this week to protect small businesses’ access to affordable credit by rescinding this burdensome and overly complex rule,” McHenry said.

The regulator and House Republicans have found some agreement on the issue of data privacy, where the CFPB’s 1033 data privacy proposal and the HFSC’s Data Privacy Act have some common ground, McHenry said.

Both agree that Americans should know where their sensitive financial data is going, how it is used and how they can stop certain firms from collecting that data, McHenry said.

“To ensure our data privacy policy is not subject to the whims of any given administration, I believe it’s critical that we make law — not just regulation,” McHenry said. “I hope we can work constructively on this issue moving forward so Americans’ financial data privacy is protected for the long term.”

In July, McHenry was among 132 members of Congress who challenged the funding structure of the CFPB. They filed an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in support of upholding a lower court’s decision that the CFPB’s funding structure is unconstitutional and that the agency’s funding should be subject to congressional appropriation.