Biden’s CFPB Nominee Signals Return to Bureau’s Original Posture

President-elect of the United States Joe Biden has nominated Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra to serve as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), signaling that the incoming Biden administration aims to return the Bureau to its original enforcement posture according to reporting at the Washington Post.

Chopra, who has served as a commissioner with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 2018, is considered an ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). He worked on the implementation team for the CFPB shortly after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, which called for the creation of the Bureau.

Official portrait of FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, nominee for CFPB Director

The selection of Chopra and of Obama-era regulator Gary Gensler to run the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are part of an effort to respond to a myriad of crises afflicting American consumers, according to the president-elect.

“Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves,” Biden said in a statement announcing his nominees. “These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward.”

In 2011 after the CFPB was established, Chopra joined the agency to expose abuses in the student lending market, serving as assistant director. In a Monday tweet, Sen. Warren said that the choices of Chopra and Gensler indicate that the president-elect “couldn’t have made better picks,” she said.

A 2020 decision by the United States Supreme Court, sought by Trump administration officials and endorsed by incumbent CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, will give the incoming president the power to dismiss the CFPB director at-will and replace her with an appointment of his own choosing.

As the nominee-designate to lead the Bureau, Chopra will have to go through a formal confirmation process in the U.S. Senate, a potentially difficult road even after Democrats effectively secure control of the upper chamber with the swearing-in of three Democratic senators — two from a Georgia runoff election, and one from the replacement for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The seating of those new senators is expected on or around Wednesday’s presidential Inauguration Day.

The CFPB maintains regulatory enforcement authority over the reverse mortgage industry at the national level. Since the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, reverse mortgage-related complaints to the Bureau have slowed. Enforcement actions have also recently risen to their highest levels in five years, though Democrats in Congress have repeatedly lamented what they perceive to be a softer approach to the agency’s regulatory posture since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

Read the article at the Washington Post.

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