As currently designed, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau will have broad powers to set rules for many types of lending in the U.S. — everything from mortgages and credit cards to payday loans and check cashing firms. The bureau was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law professor and longtime consumer-rights champion.But from its inception, the bureau has been criticized by business groups and Republican leaders in Congress who argue that its powers are too broad, and that its potential regulations will be a drag on the economy. Earlier this year, 44 Republican senators sent President Obama a letter stating that if changes weren’t made, they’d refuse to confirm anyone to run the bureau, which would seriously hamper its enforcement ability. Nevertheless, in July, President Obama nominated Richard Cordray to head the new bureau. Cordray was the former attorney general of Ohio, and is well regarded by many consumer advocates, including Elizabeth Warren.
And Republican leaders said again that until their proposed reforms to the consumer bureau are made, they won’t confirm anyone for the job. To help wade through the politics of consumer protection, Need to Know’s Alison Stewart spoke with Jeff Madrick, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute in New York. His most recent book is “Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present.”
Neither a borrower, nor a lender