December 17, 2017
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Treasury steps up effort to strengthen CFPB by confirming Cordray– opposes “partisan obstructionism” that harms military families in financial marketplace

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Over at the Treasury Department blog, Treasury’s Anthony Coley says that “When Partisan Obstruction Goes Too Far,” it hurts the CFPB’s ability to protect military families. From the blog:

“As we approach Veterans Day, I can think of no better way to show how much we appreciate our men and women in uniform than to fully protect them and their families from unfair, abusive, or deceptive financial practices. By simply allowing an up or down vote on Pres. Obama’s nominee to lead the CFPB [Rich Cordray], Senate Republicans can make that happen today.”

Good to see the Treasury recognizing the partisanship that prevents the CFPB from exercising its full authority to protect the public from unfair financial practices. As I mentioned in a previous post, “44 Republican Senators, led by Richard Shelby (R-AL), wrote the President in May and told him that they would block confirmation of any director forever unless the CFPB is first torn down and rebuilt the way the big banks want it– weak and powerless and with a tin cup in hand.” This includes Maine’s Senators Snowe and Collins.

The CFPB’s assistant director for Servicemember Affairs, Holly Petraeus, testifies Thursday morning — along with several other military lending experts — before the Senate Banking Committee (from Chairman Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) release):

“The financial crisis and the unfair practices of some financial providers have undermined the mission readiness of our troops: In surveys conducted by the Department of Defense, personal finances ranked second on the list of the causes of stress for servicemembers, behind only work/career concerns. In addition, financial problems are now the top cause of revocation of military security clearances.”

Meanwhile, yesterday, a House Financial Services subcommittee had a two-and-one-half-hour “CFPB’s first 100 days” oversight hearing featuring Raj Date as the only witness. Raj, of course, runs the CFPB as Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I thought Raj hit several home runs, and basically no-hit the Republicans seeking to allege that the CFPB needs more oversight and less authority. Its opponents had no there there; they relied on tired old talking points based on political rhetoric, not the facts. They’ve forgotten that the job-killers and house-killers and retirement-savings killers were Wall Street bankers.

Ranking member Barney Frank made the point several times that he looked forward to even more oversight hearings where the CFPB’s opponents allege that it is somehow not subject to oversight. He noted that this hearing was the second oversight hearing involving the CFPB just this week, since one was also held this Monday in CFPB opponent Rep. Sean Duffy’s district (Wausau, WI).