Now that it has a director, the CFPB will waste no time in beginning to exercise its authority to regulate mortgage originators and servicers and payday and student lenders. That’s the message Richard Corday began delivering yesterday following his appointment as CFPB Director. The Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFPB the authority to make rules for and examine these non-bank companies regardless of their size.
According to Mr. Cordray’s blog post yesterday and prepared remarks delivered in a speech today at the Brookings Institution, the CFPB will immediately begin exercising that authority. Dodd-Frank also gave the CFPB similar authority over other non-bank companies considered to be “a larger participant of a market for other consumer financial products or services,” and the CFPB has until July 21, 2012 to issue a final rule identifying those larger participants. (See our post on the notice the CFPB issued in June 2011 identifying six possible markets for consumer financial products and services in which “larger participants” would be subject to CFPB authority.)
Mr. Cordray’s reports of stories the CFPB has heard from consumers that were part of his Brookings Institution remarks may also provide some signals as to the kinds of practices on which the CFPB will focus. For example, Mr. Cordray described the plight of a consumer who, after finding herself unable to repay her payday loan, was told by her lender that “her only option” was to file for bankruptcy “when she simply wanted a reasonable chance to repay.” Another story involved a consumer who “because she is so afraid of losing her home” had been “frantically complying” with demands by her mortgage servicer for payment of charges for “inspections and appraisals she did not ask for and that have never occurred.” Mr. Cordray also indicated that the CFPB intends to make it “clear that there are real consequences to breaking the law” and that while some CFPB investigations “may be resolved through cooperative efforts to correct problems,” there may be others that “require enforcement actions to stop illegal behavior.”