This Tuesday, April 8, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Who’s in Your Wallet: Examining How Washington Red Tape Impairs Economic Freedom.” 

According to the Committee memo, the hearing will examine the economic consequences of recent rulemaking, supervisory, and enforcement actions of the CFPB, FDIC, Fed, NCUA and OCC.  Issues to be explored include (1) how the agencies evaluate the costs and benefits of their actions, (2) whether products or services are no longer being offered because of agency actions,
(3) the steps federal regulators take to measure the impact on consumers if they no longer have access to specific products or services as a result of regulatory action, and (4) the procedures or standards agencies follow in determining whether to engage in formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Meredith Fuchs, CFPB General Counsel, is among the witnesses scheduled to appear.  Observers such as Politico think Ms. Fuchs is likely to be questioned about the claims made by a CFPB employee alleging discrimination and retaliation by the CFPB which were the focus of  a Committee hearing last week. 

This is an important topic for a Congressional hearing since we are aware of certain products and services desired by consumers (such as credit card debt cancellation coverage and identity theft protection to name just a few) that many banks have stopped offering because of fear of CFPB enforcement actions.  Through consent orders, the CFPB has extracted commitments from banks that go well beyond the proscriptions of existing statutes and regulations. 

In addition to Ms. Fuchs, the other witnesses scheduled to appear are:

  • Richard J. Osterman, FDIC Acting General Counsel
  • Scott G. Alvarez, Fed General Counsel
  • Michael McKenna, NCUA General Counsel
  • Amy Friend, OCC Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel

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