The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau May Be Held Accountable…
According to an article published by HousingWire, congressional Republicans put to a vote the Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act, a bill that will bring transparency and accountability to one of the least regulated agency in the federal government.
Lately, the CFPB has come under attack after it announced its plans to spend an estimated $145 million in renovations for offices it doesn’t own. If this does not signal a reckless amount of spending and lack of regulation, I don’t know what will.
The Federal Reserve has even begun an investigation into why renovations who began so modestly have risen up to three times the original estimate.
It is especially ironic that the every government agency that holds private business accountable for their own mistakes, should be so poorly regulated. Then again, maybe that was the idea, and it has worked fairly well, until now.
The fact of the matter is, every government agency should be held accountable for excess, unnecessary spending, and while one may argue that the watch dog for private businesses needs the freedom to work under a cloak of darkness, others may say that the watchdog sometimes needs to be watched as well.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling stated:
“We know that this is an agency that was designed to be unique, if not perhaps rogue; it is an agency like no other. Arguably it is the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in the history of our nation and thus demands rigorous oversight.”
While the bill was approved in the House of Representatives (with 232 for and 182 against) on February 27, many White House aides expect an uphill battle in the Senate. If it passes and is made into law, the bill will replace the sole CFPB Director Richard Cordray with a five member Commission appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Furthermore, the bill will make the CFPB into an independent agency rather than a bureau with the Federal Reserve system and subject them to regular appropriations processes. Most importantly, the bill will prohibit the CFPB from using a consumer’s private, personal financial information with the consumer’s knowledge and consent.
If the bill is any indication, there is plenty of work to be done within the CFPB and this bill is a stepping stone in the right direction. One of the most troubling aspects the bill hopes to combat is using consumer information without consent. We’ll see where the bill goes after the vote.