A national survey conducted this past summer by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and Americans for Financial Reform found that 90 percent of voters consider regulation of financial services and products to be either important or very important. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the epitome of how to regulate correctly, declares an opinion piece by CRL President Michael Calhoun. Since 2010, he writes, the CFPB has been transparent, engaged stakeholders, met deadlines, and used technology effectively. In crafting its rule defining the "qualified mortgages" considered safest for borrowers taking out a home loan, the agency actively sought feedback from lenders, real estate agents, other industry players, consumer advocates, and civil rights groups.
The Qualified Mortgage rule balances protections for borrowers with broad access to financing, and about 95 percent of loans made today meet these standards. The CFPB has also entered into a Consent Order with payday lender Cash America International, Inc., which has committed to refunding $14 million in overcharges to borrowers and taken steps to correct almost 14,000 improper debt collection lawsuits. Calhoun notes that, going forward, the CFPB's major challenges should be more about emerging issues for households, such as abusive debt-trap practices and debt collection problems. "The CFPB is setting the course for a financial marketplace with greater transparency and accountability," he concludes. "Consumers, responsible lenders and our nation's economy all benefit from the improved markets that result from this work."