The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) turns 3 on Monday, July 21, 2014. Created under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB already has made a significant impact on the consumer protection legal landscape and, more specifically, on how consumer financial services providers advertise and market their services. Nevertheless, the CFPB’s track record continues to be controversial, despite the expected press releases and reports relating to the upcoming anniversary, which already include an announcement of an expanded consumer complaint portal (Wednesday, July 17), and a field hearing on Thursday morning.
Many industry groups and companies view the CFPB’s regulation and enforcement of consumer financial protection laws as more aggressive and results driven than other federal and state regulators that historically covered (and in some cases continue to cover) many of the same activities and statutes. For example, through its examinations, multiple settlements, and enforcement lawsuits, the CFPB appears committed to taking a broad view of what’s considered an unfair, deceptive or abusive act or practice. As a result, the CFPB has taken pro-consumer regulation to an entirely different level through supervision and examinations of banks and companies in nonbank markets such as mortgage, small dollar loans, private student loans, debt collection, and credit reporting, which had previously been unsupervised. On top of this all, the CFPB’s activities have been a catalyst for other agencies to step-up their own regulatory activities, both on their own and in joint actions such as the settlements reached with banks on credit card marketing and investigatory sweeps with the FTC.