House Votes to Overhaul Consumer Agency

July 21, 2011
Washington Post 
consumer financial protection bureau news

The U.S. House approved legislation in a vote of 241-to-173 that would strengthen the veto power of the Financial Stability Oversight Council over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) decisions, install a five-member commission to replace the single director as the head of the bureau, and delay the transfer of powers from other federal agencies. The measure also calls for the bureau to be subject to congressional appropriations. However, the legislation is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate. The CFPB opened for business on July 21 without a director, though the Obama Administration has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. Senate Republicans have said they will continue to block any nominee until the agency's structure is modified. Without a director, CFPB cannot write many new rules and it lacks the authority to oversee payday lenders and check cashers. The agency is expected to consolidate the consumer protection powers of seven government agencies and to focus on transparency, disclosures, and protection against unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. CFPB is currently accepting complaints from consumers about credit cards, and the agency is prepared to begin work, says White House Advisor Elizabeth Warren. Moreover, a recent study reveals that 63 percent of voters favor greater oversight of financial firms and nearly 75 percent of respondents favor a single agency tasked with consumer protection.
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