Home Robert Hurt: The CFPB needs increased transparency, accountability

Robert Hurt: The CFPB needs increased transparency, accountability



Robert_HurtThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act, is an agency intended to oversee consumer protection in the financial sector, but it is equipped with unprecedented authority over America’s financial system, defying the basic principle of separation of powers.  The CFPB receives its funding directly from the Federal Reserve, which is not held to a minimal standard of transparency or accountability, and it is only subjected to limited congressional oversight – a semi-annual Financial Services Committee hearing with its Director.

The CFPB remains an opaque and dangerously unaccountable agency equipped with unrivaled power over America’s financial system and consumers’ personal data.  In actuality, it is using its power to adopt policies that often harm, rather than help, the very Americans it is tasked with protecting.

Consumers, community banks, and credit unions from across Virginia’s Fifth District have relayed to me troubling stories about the impact of the CFPB indicating that the agency’s unchecked authority is restricting consumer choice, creating an atmosphere of economic uncertainty, and imposing undue regulatory burdens that increase costs.  This has extensive and harmful consequences for our economy.  Small businesses, the backbone of our economy, are not able to access the capital they need to create jobs if their community banks are fighting bureaucratic red tape instead of providing loans.

Without appropriate oversight from Congress, the CFPB will be able to continue imposing sweeping and restrictive regulations on community financial institutions across the Fifth District at a time when access to credit for small businesses, farms, and families is more essential than ever.  Real consumer protection requires that we shift power from bureaucrats in Washington who implement one size fits all regulations to those who are most affected.  True consumer protection empowers consumers, not bureaucrats in Washington.

Last week, the House passed the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act, which would create a Small Business Advisory Board at the CFPB.  This bill is critical in ensuring that the CFPB considers the broad-reaching negative effects on our most dynamic job creators.  I was pleased to see it pass the House with bipartisan support, and I urge our colleagues in the Senate to continue working with us to promote success for our small businesses.

Though this bill was a crucial step in the right direction, it is just the first of many.  Congressional oversight is essential to holding the CFPB accountable to the American taxpayers.  Effective, appropriate consumer protections are best achieved through legislative reforms, not by empowering one unaccountable individual with such a crucial task.  I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advancing commonsense policies that will enhance accountability and transparency at the CFPB to ensure their actions do not come at the expense of Fifth District families and small businesses.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress.



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