A bill introduced in the House of Representatives this week seeks to have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) run by a five-member bipartisan commission, instead of a single director.

 

The CFPB, set to be officially opened on July 21, has broad powers to regulate and enforce rules on consumer financial products and services, including oversight over the entire mortgage industry.  Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Rep. Spencer Bachus stated that their are concerns that the Dodd-Frank Act puts too much power in the hands of a single Bureau Director.  "Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the director of the CFPB is given a broad and virtually unlimited mandate to substitute his or her judgment for that of consumers and the free market," Bachus said.  "Because the CFPB might be the most powerful agency ever created, I am introducing this bill to ensure that a non-partisan, balanced approach to consumer protection prevails."

Elizabeth Warren, who has not been appointed director of the CFPB, but is in charge of the Obama Administration's "CFPB Implementation Team," states that the Bureau will be overseen by the Financial Oversight Stability Council and cannot singularly wield its power.  Additionally, the CFPB does not set its own budget, but must seek funding authority from Congress, which will make it one of the most accountable agencies in government.

Rep. Bachus suggested that a management commission would better serve the goal of consumer protection, similar to how the FDIC and SEC are management, rather than placing the control into a single director.