The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Structure, Mission and Limitation of Authority Prior to the Appointment of a Director


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created by Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010) (Dodd-Frank Act). The short title for Title X is the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. The CFPB is scheduled to assume its powers as an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System on July 21, 2011 (the Transfer Date).

I. Mission and Scope

A. CFPB’s Mission

“BUREAU ESTABLISHED.—There is established in the Federal Reserve System, an independent bureau to be known as the ‘Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,’ which shall regulate the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services under the Federal consumer financial laws.” (Dodd-Frank Act § 1011(a))

“OBJECTIVES.—The Bureau is authorized to exercise its authorities under Federal consumer financial law for the purposes of ensuring that, with respect to consumer financial products and services—

(1) consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions;

(2) consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination;

(3) outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens;

(4) Federal consumer financial law is enforced consistently, without regard to the status of a person as a depository institution, in order to promote fair competition; and

(5) markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation.” (Dodd-Frank Act § 1021(b))

B. CFPB’s Scope

Primary Rulemaking Authority under:

-The Alternative Mortgage Transaction Parity Act of 1982;

-The Consumer Leasing Act of 1976;

-The Electronic Funds Transfer Act;

-The Equal Credit Opportunity Act;

-The Fair Credit Billing Act;

-The Fair Credit Reporting Act;

-The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998;

-The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;

-The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975;

-The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994;

-The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974;

-The S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008;

-The Truth in Lending Act;

-The Truth in Savings Act; and

-The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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