If his opening statement is any indication of his views on the debt collection industry, then the type of regulation that Rohit Chopra is going to bring to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — should he pass his confirmation hearing today and become the agency’s next director — is starting to come into focus.
Chopra is scheduled to face the Senate Banking Committee at 10am ET today. In advance of his hearing, the committee yesterday released his prepared statement, which he will make before facing questions from the committee’s members.
Chopra’s prepared remarks purposefully don’t reveal too much about his plan or vision for how he will lead the CFPB, but he does spotlight some of the problems that he thinks consumers are facing today, and that includes a reference to the collection industry.
“Other persistent pain points for consumers are particularly acute today, making it harder for families to get back on their feet,” Chopra will say, according to a copy of his prepared statement. “Consumers continue to discover serious errors on their credit reports or feel forced to make payments to debt collectors on bills they already paid or never owed to begin with, including for medical treatment related to Covid-19. Many of these longstanding, pervasive problems will make it more difficult for our country to sustain a full recovery.”
It is interesting to juxtapose Chopra’s opening statement with that from Kathleen Kraninger, the most recent director of the CFPB, who went before the Senate Banking Committee in August 2018. In her opening statement, Kraninger outlined four priorities she would have to “satisfy” the Congressional “mandate” that was assigned to the CFPB when it was established a decade ago.
“Congress has entrusted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with carefully monitoring markets to spot risks, ensuring compliance with existing law, educating consumers, and promoting competition,” Chopra said. “This not only helps to protect Americans from fraud and other unlawful conduct, it also ensures that law-abiding businesses, regardless of size, can compete.”
Perhaps most interestingly, despite a significant background in student lending, Chopra did not mention it in his prepared statement.
Chopra’s confirmation hearing will be livestreamed here starting at 10am ET today.