Last week on May 24, 2019, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released a calendar of June hearings. The calendar includes a hearing on June 25 at 10:00 AM Eastern entitled, “Examining Legislation to Protect Consumers and Small Business Owners from Abusive Debt Collection Practices.” The hearing will be broadcast live on the Committee’s website. [Update 6/24/2019: As of today, this meeting is no longer on the House Financial Services Committee's calendar.]
The calendar does not state what specific legislation the Committee will discuss, but this hearing comes on the heels of two activities in Washington related to debt collection and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is one of the main regulators for the industry. First, the House of Representatives passed the Consumers First Act last week. The purpose of this Act is to “block the Trump Administration’s anti-consumer agenda and reverse their past efforts to undermine the mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” Second, the CFPB released the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for debt collection earlier this month.
The calendar also schedules a hearing for the two task forces announced earlier this month. The Task Force on Financial Technology will convene on June 25 at 2 PM Eastern, and the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will convene on June 26 at 2:00 PM Eastern.
When Rep. Waters became Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, she pledged to make the CFPB her focus. Thus far, she has kept to her word. In addition to getting the Consumers First Act through the House of Representatives, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter to CFPB employees urging them to be whistleblowers if they notice anything suspicious, sent a letter to Director Kathleen Kraninger questioning the lack of restitution to consumers in recent settlements between the CFPB and financial services companies, and grilled Director Kraninger during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. We all now await this next hearing to get details about this proposed legislation.