The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will conduct a remote hearing tomorrow on the nomination of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Rohit Chopra to be Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The hearing, which begins at 10:00 AM ET, will be live-streamed and available here. Chopra's hearing will be second, following Gary Gensler's, to be Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chopra previously served at the CFPB as the Student Loan Ombudsman, during which he was critical of schools, banks, and servicers in their handling of loans and lack of transparency with borrowers.
In November 2020, Chopra issued a statement regarding the FTC's enforcement action against debt collector Midwest Recovery Systems including these highlights:
- The FTC's go-it-alone debt collection enforcement strategy frequently leads to outcomes where victims receive only a minuscule percentage of their losses - or even nothing at all.
- To best serve the public and stop debt collection abuses, the FTC should work in concert with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Joint actions will help make victims whole through access to the CFPB's Civil Penalty Fund and reduce duplicative efforts.
- As Commissioners, we must stop ignoring Congress and must recalibrate agency priorities and strategies in the financial services arena.
insideARM previously published additional information about Chopra's position on debt collection.
When then-President-elect Biden nominated Chopra, Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow John Berlau commented,
“The CFPB has massive power over community banks, credit unions, and small businesses that extend any form of credit. It also still lacks accountability to Congress, as it receives funding not from the appropriations process, but automatically from the Federal Reserve. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Senate to thoroughly question Rohit Chopra, President-Elect Biden’s expected nominee for CFPB director, on his views on consumer choice, financial privacy, and regulation through a fair process rather than arbitrarily by enforcement.
“During the tenure of the CFPB Director Richard Cordray, under whom Chopra served, lawmakers of both parties expressed concern about CFPB mandates on community banks and credit unions. The U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also ruled unanimously in PHH v. CFPB (2016) that the CFPB’s retroactive application of its new interpretation of a law violated the Constitution’s guarantee of due process and flunked ‘Rule of Law, 101.’ The Senate must grill Chopra to help ensure the CFPB does not revert back to these policies procedures of the Corday era that received bipartisan condemnation.”
A Washington Post article in January included this comment from Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s federal consumer program,
“When you’re only going after last-dollar scammers and small, fly-by-night companies, you’re not sending a message to the big banks, big debt collectors, and big credit bureaus that there’s a sheriff in town. As soon as he’s confirmed, Rohit will bring a renewed sense of urgency.”