US Chamber of Commerce Launches Campaign to Rein in CFPB

Troutman Pepper

On June 28, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) launched a focused campaign to highlight what it describes as unlawful regulatory overreach by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) and, specifically, new CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “At every turn,” writes Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Counsel Daryl Joseffer, the CFPB is pushing an activist agenda “without advance public participation or approval. That is not the system Congress designed, nor one which our laws will tolerate.”

The Chamber’s campaign specifically objects to several alleged unlawful actions, including:

CFPB Policy Fellowship. The Chamber believes that this program circumvents civil-service laws and executive-branch guidance that prohibit preferential hiring and conflicts of interest.

Revisions to CFPB Rules of Practice for Adjudication Proceedings. The Chamber describes this as an impermissible expansion of the director’s powers in ways that undermine due process for defendant companies and violate the separation of powers.

Repeal of Its 2013 Decision Not to Publish a Final Decision or Order Establishing Supervisory Authority Over a Covered Person. This, the Chamber believes, violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because the revised rule did not go through the required notice-and-comment process.

The CFPB Interpretative Rule Regarding State Attorneys General and the Consumer Financial Protection Act. This rule, the Chamber points out, is inconsistent with federal law and exceeds the Bureau’s authority.

Chopra also proposes outright bans on certain products and states his intention to restructure the industry, ultimately hurting consumers by limiting choice and diminishing competition.

As part of its campaign against the federal agency, the Chamber has submitted several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the CFPB, including:

  • Communications relating to the May 26 interpretive rule, titled “Authority of States to Enforce the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.”
  • All records regarding the legal basis, authority, and validity of the CFPB Policy Fellowship Program announced in 2021.
  • Current CFPB procedures manual, operating manual, and similar or other document(s) setting out the CFPB’s rules or guidelines concerning procedures, practices, and internal operations.
  • All records regarding Director Chopra’s determination that the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation could hold a vote without the consent of its chair.
  • All records as to changes to the CFPB’s examination procedures published on March 16.
  • All records regarding President Biden’s July 9, 2021 executive order on promoting competition in the American economy.

The Chamber believes this collection of documents lays out the questionable and unlawful plans of a governmental agency with little oversight and too much regulatory power.

“Director Chopra is attempting to use the CFPB to radically reshape the American financial services sector,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Rohit Chopra has an outsized view of the CFPB’s role and the Director’s power.”

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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