What to expect from director Rohit Chopra’s CFPB
President Biden has appointed Rohit Chopra, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Commissioner Chopra served as the agency’s deputy director and first student loans ombudsperson before his appointment to the FTC in 2018. Under his leadership, the CFPB will adopt the more aggressive stance of the Obama administration and bring the agency back to its mission. consumer surveillance. His vision is aligned with that of Senator Elizabeth Warren whom he helped create the agency after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010.
Due to the Supreme Court ruling in Seila Law Considering that the president has the power to dismiss the director of the CFPB, the CFPB executes the agenda of the current administration more closely than what was provided for in the Dodd-Frank Act which sought to structure the office as an independent agency. Thus, Commissioner Chopra, once in post, can quickly steer the agency on a new, more muscular course.
Regulated entities can expect enforcement to ramp up as the agency rolls back the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the agency’s impact. CFPB enforcement activity declined 54% under the leadership of Trump appointees. Areas of intervention for an invigorated CFPB are likely to include:
- Student loans: Given his background, a Chopra Director will make student debt a top priority in an effort to continue the work he started as an ombudsman. The office will likely crack down on student loan managers and lenders to make sure they follow the law and serve student borrowers adequately. The CFPB will also likely echo Obama-era efforts to increase transparency in the student loan process and create additional resources for borrowers. In addition to increased enforcement measures, the CFPB will also likely create new regulations (including possible federal guidelines on servicing student loans) for the industry and intensify its oversight and oversight functions, in close collaboration. with the Ministry of Education and state regulators. The CFPB is also likely to step up enforcement measures against for-profit colleges.
- COVID-19 Relief: The CFPB can take a more aggressive approach in enforcing the consumer protection provisions of the CARES Act and other federal relief laws, such as the requirement to offer borrowers extended periods of forbearance. mortgage and student loans. A more active CFPB will aggressively pursue violations and tackle allegedly unfair debt collection practices. Commissioner Chopra highlighted inequalities in the distribution of relief funds, highlighting the under-representation of small businesses among beneficiaries.  This suggests that he will prioritize the role of the CFPB in monitoring the implementation of federal stimulus legislation.
- Fair loan: Regulation and enforcement that prioritize equity issues are likely. In addition to being a priority area for the Biden administration, Commissioner Chopra has advocated the use of disparate impact assessments to detect and eliminate discriminatory lending practices. The CFPB’s enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to challenge discriminatory practices is likely to increase. Commissioner Chopra highlighted how mass data surveillance can discriminate and harm consumers, suggesting increased data collection efforts and agency action in this space.
- Credit Reports and Data Protection: While at the FTC, Commissioner Chopra discussed the importance of protecting credit reports and highlighted the role of the CFPB in overseeing credit bureaus. He has focused on the tech industry and frequently discusses predatory online practices that harm consumers., suggesting that these will likely be areas of interest to him at CFPB.
- Payday loan: The CFPB is likely to bring back the small dollar rule from former CFPB director Richard Cordray, which allegedly required lenders to consider whether borrowers would be able to repay their loans before they grant them. There is currently a dispute over the annulment of the rule in 2020, which the new CFPB could use to reconsider the annulment. The office will be sure to step up enforcement action in this area as well, against allegedly predatory or unfair loans in violation of the Dodd-Frank Act.
- Large financial institutions: A more muscular CFPB is more likely to take legal action against bigger, more powerful institutions, including the country’s biggest banks and lenders. The office will also pursue tougher penalties for violations. At the FTC, Commissioner Chopra has consistently advocated for tougher enforcement measures against large corporations. During his tenure, he voted against several FTC regulations with companies he considers insufficient and too lax (especially no dollar regulations) and advocated for heavier penalties for repeat violators. It highlights the dangers of monopolization and the power of big business over small businesses and consumers.
Thus, regulated entities can expect increased activity from a CFPB led by Rohit Chopra. In addition to a return to the more aggressive executive position of former director Richard Cordray, who was appointed by President Obama, a director Chopra will bring his own set of priorities to the office. The problem areas described here are likely to take center stage in this new era for the Office of Consumer Financial Protection.