CFPB Enforcement Actions Will Impact Community Banks

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The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s full jurisdiction and enforcement authority has been launched by the appointment by President Obama of Richard Cordray as the CFPB’s first Director. The appointment was immediately the focus of political and legal controversy over the constitutionality issue of the effectiveness of a “recess appointment.” The actions of Mr. Cordray and the CFPB on his first day “in charge” also were newsworthy. However, community bankers who look at the CFPB as the agency that is likely to have little impact on their activities should recognize that its breadth and scope will provide significant challenges for the day-to-day business of banking.

The day after his appointment, the CFPB website announced “the nation’s first nonbank supervision program” with Director Cordray stating, “Holding both banks and nonbanks accountable to consumer financial laws will help create a fairer, more transparent market for consumers.” Consumers could also find a personal evite from Director Cordray to use a new online link to tell their stories of lender abuse help.consumerfinance.gov/app/tellyourstory. The following day President Obama visited CFPB employees at their new offices (inherited from the OTS) to tell them their role was to “make sure the big banks on Wall Street play by the same rules as community bankers on Main Street.”

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