On April 5, 2017, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing, “The 2016 Semi-Annual Reports of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” Since Director Cordray has appeared at all of the Committee’s prior hearings on CFPB semi-annual reports, it is reasonable to expect him to appear at this hearing even though the Committee’s website does not yet identify any witnesses. His appearance would represent Director Cordray’s first Congressional appearance since President Trump’s inauguration.
Early last month, Director Cordray was interviewed by CNBC. We commented that the interview was more noteworthy for what it failed to cover than for what it did cover and listed a number of important questions he was not asked. We think several of those questions and some others would be appropriate for Committee members to ask Director Cordray at the April 5 hearing. Committee members might consider asking:
1. Does the CFPB still intend to issue a final arbitration rule or a final payday/small dollar loan rule and, if so, when will that happen? Are you concerned about the possibility that if the CFPB does issue such rules, they will be overridden by Congress under the Congressional Review Act?
2. Do you intend to remain CFPB Director until your term ends in July 2018?
3. Is it still the CFPB’s position that no statute of limitations applies when it prosecutes an enforcement action before an Administrative Law Judge or has its position changed in light of the D.C. Circuit panel’s decision in the PHH case holding that the same statute of limitations that applies to a lawsuit filed in court applies to an administrative proceeding?
4. Have you met with Attorney General Sessions or any of his aides and, if so, do you expect that there will be any changes in the level of cooperation between your two agencies, particularly in fair lending cases and also in light of the fact that the DOJ is not supporting the CFPB’s position in the PHH case?
5. Why haven’t you selected a Deputy Director?
6. When does the CFPB expect to convene a second SBREFA panel to consider proposals for a rule covering first-party creditors collecting their own debts and others engaged in debt collection not covered by the proposals issued last July?
7. Will the CFPB follow all of the executive orders issued by President Trump dealing with regulatory reform even though certain of those orders may not apply directly to the CFPB?