Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee continued to urge the Senate to adopt structural changes to the CFPB at a recent hearing on the CFPB’s activities. Republicans are calling for more accountability at the Bureau, including replacing the single Director with a bipartisan five-person committee and making it easier for federal banking regulators to overrule the Bureau’s decisions. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) explained that the CFPB “could easily become a loose cannon” under the current leadership structure.
CFPB Special Advisor Raj Date defended the single Director structure, asserting that “if you want something hard done, you really should have someone singularly accountable for it.” Date further defended the CFPB, saying “[a]t some level, if you don’t believe what we say, look at what we do,” pointing to the Bureau’s early initiatives, which include working directly with members of the military and older Americans, and streamlining disclosure forms for mortgages and student loans.
Despite Date’s assurances regarding the structure of the CFPB, Senate Republicans continue to block Richard Cordray’s confirmation as Director of the Bureau. Because it lacks a Director, the CFPB finds its powers significantly limited. The Bureau is not yet allowed by law to supervise payday lenders, private student loan companies and other non-bank companies that can take advantage of consumers.
The White House has ratcheted up pressure to confirm Cordray, charging that Americans will be denied full safeguards against abusive business practices until Cordray is in place. Stephanie Cutter, presidential advisor, called on Republicans to “do the right thing by consumers,” but offered no new path to confirmation for Cordray. She also said President Obama would oppose any efforts to change the structure of the CFPB. Cutter declined to comment on the possibility of a recess appointment of Cordray to bypass Republicans while Congress is not in session, and said that the Senate still has an opportunity to confirm Cordray before going into recess at Christmas.