A vote today in the Senate over whether or not to confirm Richard Cordray as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been blocked with a filibuster by opponents of the current structure of the bureau.
The lawmakers involved in the filibuster are seeking changes to the CFPB that could weaken its ability to protect consumers. Our wise elders at the Consumers Union are weighing in on today’s blocked vote.
“Richard Cordray’s nomination is being held hostage by lawmakers who seem intent on undermining this vital new watchdog for consumers,” said Pamela Banks, senior counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “Today’s vote makes it clear who is standing with consumers and who is standing with the big banks and Wall Street.”
The CFPB is relatively new, and was created as part of last year’s Wall Street reform law passed in Congress last year. Its goals are to stop unfair and deceptive financial practices, and to make sure financial companies are informing consumers with enough information, so that they understand the risks of credit cards, mortgages and other financial products.
While the CFPB is director-less, it can’t operate to its full extent protecting consumers and is unable to exercise its full authority to keep tabs on entities other than just financial institutions like banks, including payday lenders, debt collectors, check-cashers and make sure the government’s guidelines regarding consumer affairs are upheld.
“It’s no wonder there’s so much cynicism about Washington these days,” said Banks. “Americans spent billions of dollars to bail out the big banks and now the agency that was created to protect consumers from unfair financial practices is under attack by some lawmakers in Congress.”