AFR in the News: Looking Back at the CFPB’s Track Record

With the confirmation battle over at last, the Columbus Dispatch took a look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s accomplishments. “It’s off to a really good start,” AFR’s Lisa Donner told Jessica Wehrman of the Dispatch. “But there’s a whole lot of work left to be done.”

The CFPB’s newly confirmed director, Richard Cordray, was also interviewed for the article. His agency had worked hard at “delivering a lot of tangible benefits to consumers,” he said, adding that “it will be a little easier now to move forward on a smooth path.”

Ed Mierzwinski, consumer-program director at US PIRG, cited the CFPB’s enforcement action against Capital One, Discover and American Express, over costly and often useless credit-card add-on products, as one of the Bureau’s signal achievements.

“Mierzwinski said the agency drew the praise of consumer groups by ordering the three credit-card companies to pay back nearly half a billion dollars — and to reimburse customers by having the companies put that money directly into affected customers’ accounts,” the article explained. “Previous bank regulators, he said, had set up ‘very complicated sets of hoops for consumers to jump through’ that often deterred customers from claiming money they were owed…’”

Donner pointed to the Bureau’s complaint database and its strong research on payday lending and overdraft fees. “Some of the markets that the CFPB regulates, nobody has ever regulated at the federal level before,” she told the Dispatch. “There’s never been someone just having the focused mission of consumer protection.”