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Five Years in and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau still fails to Impress

It wasn’t all that long ago that the United States was mired in the Great Recession. Of course, any time something as drastic as the financial situation of 2008 happens, there are bound to be reactions and consequences. On the heels of the Great Recession the United States implemented the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. This agency was given the power and authority to police the financial industry, while supposedly adhering to a mission to protect American consumers (especially lower income consumers) from financial misdeeds.

Well, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been doing its thing for five years now. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but not really when you think about all of the action that this group has been up to over those years. Of course, it is not news to anyone to find out that there are plenty of organizations and individuals who have issues with the CFPB. In fact, some Republicans have referred to the CFPB as a “rogue” government agency that needs to be drastically overhauled or done away with completely.

Five years doesn’t seem long enough for an organization to amass a group of enemies, naysayers and critics. But that is exactly what the CFPB has done. The bureau has routinely been aggressive in its pursuit of financial institutions that it believes to be harmful to American consumers. The CFPB has made a habit of introducing sweeping regulatory rules and actions that have allowed it to put pressure on credit unions, banks, debt collection agencies, telecom companies and payday lenders. The CFPB has been given carte blanche to do whatever it wants, and it has a nearly limitless budget to boot. Add to that the fact that it is run via a single director structure, and it’s easy to see why so many people have issues with both the Bureau and the actions that it takes.

The CFPB has publically boasted about providing in excess of $11 billion in financial relief for well over 25 million American consumers. It has also forced various companies to fork over nearly half a billion dollars in penalty fees. All of this is after just five years. If the Democrats manage to keep control of the White House, we can all count on hearing even more about the actions that this agency takes over the next four years.

It probably comes as no surprise to find out that Elizabeth Warren was the “Mastermind” who came up with the CFPB. She seems to always have a hand in “progressive” issues that seem to take on a life of their own. She originally planned to consolidate the powers and authority that several agencies held and to give those powers and authorities to a single entity. When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, it officially gave the okay to create the CFPB. It was the following year (2011) when the CFPB began doing its thing. Obama didn’t give Warren the job of overseeing this agency; instead he directly appointed the former Ohio Attorney General, Richard Cordray to take the reins of the CFPB.

The CFPB has shown that it is more interested in taking action against smaller lending companies than it is in making the mainstream banking and lending industry more accountable, helpful to consumers and on the level. It’s always easier for those with a tendency to throw their weight around to go after the more vulnerable victims, right? So now we are at five years and counting. The CFPB is still using its authority to directly penalize anyone and everyone that they deem to be a threat to the consumers of this country. And, as many critics of the Bureau will tell you, the CFPB continues to threaten the very foundation of a free market economy in the process.

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