In remarks to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on May 9, Director Cordray outlined the past and future of the Bureau’s enforcement efforts. Director Cordray’s theme was to outline Bureau expectations in what he calls a “new era of accountability.”
Director Cordray highlighted the Bureau’s efforts to hold individual decision makers responsible for violations of consumer finance laws along with companies through the use of “time-honored principles of law” governing vicarious liability and piercing the corporate veil. His remarks echoed previous statements that the Bureau planned to use its enforcement powers to pursue individual wrongdoers along with financial companies. The Bureau announced last month that the first guilty plea had been entered by an individual referred by the Bureau to the Justice Department.
Director Cordray also highlighted the Bureau’s effort to provide guidance on management of third party service providers. He touted the Bureau’s efforts to hold service providers liable for violations of consumer financial laws and financial institutions responsible for the violations of their service providers. “People who do not understand what company they are really dealing with will find it hard to assign proper responsibility to those who may be mistreating them,” he said. To illustrate the Bureau’s activity in this area, Director Cordray cited recent bureau enforcements and examination in areas including credit card add-on products, loan servicing relationships, debt collection, and payment processors.
Director Cordray closed his remarks by mentioning the Bureau’s efforts to collect and process consumer complaints, noting that the aggregation of consumer complaints will help to drive future CFPB activity.
While these remarks do not outline any new policies from the Bureau, they underscore the Bureau’s focus observable in recent months on third party service provider oversight and efforts to hold individuals accountable.