On April 6, 2020, Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), posted a white paper addressed to current CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, listing sixteen actions the agency should take to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cordray wants the CFPB to ensure that financial institutions continue complying with consumer protection laws. The recommended actions relate to mortgage servicing, foreclosure and eviction, vehicle repossession, debt collection and credit reporting. Examples of these recommendations are as follow:
- Collect data regarding consumers’ experiences and widely disseminate the findings. Cordray encourages the CFPB to use all of its tools to compile consumer marketplace data, particularly regarding what consumers need at this difficult time. According to Cordray, the CFPB can only protect consumers if it identifies current issues in the consumer marketplace.
- Provide assistance with preventing foreclosure. The CARES Act (Act), recently passed by Congress, offers consumers protection against foreclosure if they are unable to pay their mortgage loans during the COVID-19 crisis. For mortgage loans that fall within the purview of the Act, the CFPB, with its supervisory power, can ensure that consumers are afforded this protection. Cordray encourages the CFPB to work alongside servicers and lenders to attempt to establish similar protections for mortgage loans that are not protected by the Act.
- Provide assistance with preventing eviction. During the COVID-19 crisis, many consumers are at risk of losing their housing if they do not have the financial resources available to pay rent. Cordray encourages the CFPB to keep consumers apprised of all options that are available for relief to help protect against eviction.
- Monitor vehicle repossession efforts against consumers. Cordray encourages the CFPB, in collaboration with Congress, to suspend vehicle repossessions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the after-effects of the economic downturn. According to Cordray, the CFPB should ensure that consumers faced with vehicle repossession “are informed, treated fairly, and have the remaining equity in their car or truck fully applied to the balance of their loan.”
The white paper, outlining all recommendations, can be accessed here.