CFPB Improvements

Background

In June 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, which would make a number of substantive changes to the CFPB.

Key changes within the bill include:

  • Converting the CFPB into a consumer law enforcement agency without supervision authority
  • Repealing the CFPB's authority with respect to unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices (UDAAP)
  • Bringing the CFPB’s budget under the normal appropriations process by Congress
  • Eliminating the consumer complaint database

The bill now awaits further consideration in the Senate.

In February 2017, Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1264, the Community Financial Institutions Act. This legislation would raise the CFPB exemption threshold for community financial institutions to $50 billion in consolidated assets. The bill would also strengthen the Section 1022 exemption authority and require the CFPB to say explicitly, through making an affirmative finding, whether community institutions are being targeted by any new rules

During the 114th Congress, lawmakers introduced a number of provisions that would have made substantial changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In June 2016, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling unveiled the discussion draft of the Financial CHOICE Act, which, among many other general financial services provisions, included several substantive changes to the CFPB.

The bill would have:

  • Replaced the single CFPB director with a five-person commission
  • Subjected the CFPB to the regular congressional appropriations process
  • Prohibited the CFPB from using a consumer's personal financial information without consumer consent
  • Strengthened the ability of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to overrule CFPB regulations
  • Required the CFPB to verify information in the consumer complaint database before releasing to the public

The bill was not considered by the full Congress.

In March 2015, Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, introduced legislation (H.R. 1266) that would again change the CFPB's structure from a single director to a bipartisan five-person commission appointed by the President. This legislation was included in the original version of Chairman Hensarling's Financial CHOICE Act.

During the 113th Congress, the House passed the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act (H.R. 3193), a package of several smaller bills, backed by NAFCU, that would have brought greater accountability and transparency to the CFPB.

It is worth noting that some technical changes have been made at the CFPB, including the adoption of a law that would require the CFPB to keep confidential the privileged information it receives from financial institutions. This is consistent with provisions already in place for other financial regulators.