The Joe Biden administration today nominated David Uejio, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to an assistant secretary position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The move could signal that the administration believes its nominee for director of the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, will soon finally be confirmed by the Senate.
Biden nominated Uejio to serve as assistant secretary of HUD, where he would replace Anna Maria Farias, whom former President Donald Trump appointed in 2017.
Uejio’s nomination continued an already-packed week for federal housing regulators, which saw the ouster of the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as well as the installation of Sandra Thompson as its acting director.
Uejio has served as acting director of the CFPB since January 2021, and under his tenure, has renewed its role as consumer watchdog.
Historically, when we see the market transition from a high refinance volume environment to one that’s more purchase-driven, defects in borrower qualification categories tend to increase as lenders attempt to capture every last bit of volume they can.
Presented by: ACES Quality Management
The CFPB has taken a hard line with mortgage servicers, warning them in a compliance bulletin that “unprepared is unacceptable.” In March, the Bureau rolled back a Trump-era rule which said it would rule out seeking penalties for “certain abusive acts or practices.”
The CFPB rescinded seven COVID-19-related flexibilities, including leniency on loan modifications. It is also reevaluating the safe harbor provision of the Qualifying Mortgage rule, which shields lenders from liability during foreclosure.
The mortgage industry, overall, has not welcomed the return of the Bureau as watchdog. During the Trump administration, enforcement actions declined markedly.
During Kathy Kraninger‘s tenure as head of the CFPB, from 2018 to 2020, it fined companies only $800 million. That was a departure from the $12 billion in fines it charged companies in its first six years of existence, under the direction of former director Richard Cordray. During Kraninger’s tenure, the agency also began targeting mostly smaller companies, such as payday lenders and debt collectors. In many cases it opted to settle with companies.
But Uejio’s potential departure from the CFPB is not likely to end the hard-line policies that have defined the agency under the Biden administration.
Chopra, Biden’s nominee for the permanent directorship at the CFPB, is a current Federal Trade Commissioner who served as the bureau’s assistant director under Cordray. Chopra is a close ally of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who conceived of the CFPB.
Chopra’s confirmation is currently held up in the Senate. In March, the Senate Banking Committee’s vote on Chopra resulted in a tie. His confirmation now awaits a vote on the Senate Floor, where Vice President Kamala Harris would cast a vote in the event of a tie.