House, Senate Republicans signal focused scrutiny on CFPB in months ahead

As Republicans could reclaim majorities in both houses of Congress in the midterms, they signal more intense scrutiny of CFPB

Republicans on both the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee separately submitted letters to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra, warning of more intense levels of scrutiny by the relevant congressional committees due to recent actions undertaken by the CFPB.

In letters submitted to Chopra by the Senate members on September 12 and the House members on September 20, Republicans expressed concern over Chopra’s leadership of the agency and the generally more active regulatory posture the CFPB has taken since the beginning of the Biden administration in 2021.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra
Rohit Chopra

“We are deeply concerned that under your leadership, the [CFPB] has returned to its Obama-era roots as a lawless and unaccountable agency,” the Senate letter reads. “Rather than operating as a tough, but fair and sensible regulator, the CFPB is again pursuing a radical and highly-politicized agenda unbounded by statutory limits. It has adopted an arrogant regulatory ethos: the CFPB can do whatever it wants.”

In the House letter to Director Chopra, the Republicans state that there are instances in which the CFPB has exceeded the authority it has been granted by Congress and vow that investigative discretion will be exercised in the future.

“The House Committees for Financial Services and Oversight and Reform intend to exercise robust investigative and legislative powers to not only forcefully reassert our Article I responsibilities, but to ensure that neither you nor the Biden administration can continue to exceed Congressional authorizations,” the House letter reads.

These letters arrive as American voters prepare to go to the polls or submit their mail-in ballots for upcoming midterm elections in which the balance of power in the legislative branch will be up for grabs in races across the country. According to political analysis by FiveThirtyEight, as of September 28 Democrats currently maintain a slight advantage in holding onto their Senate majority while Republicans, similarly, maintain a slight advantage in retaking the House.

Should Republicans retake the House, the committees within that body will see their chairpeople — and with them, their investigative focuses — change to focus on issues seen as priorities by Republicans.

The potential implications on the reverse mortgage industry are indirect but present, seeing as the CFPB maintains regulatory enforcement authority over the reverse mortgage industry at the national level.

Read the letter from the Senate members and the separate letter from the House members.

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