Chopra Urges States to Enforce Federal Consumer Protection Laws

Rohit Chopra, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urged state Attorneys General to bring their own enforcement actions when they think federal laws have been broken, especially when federal law is stronger than a state statute, asking only that AGs give the CFPB a heads up before filing a complaint. Chopra, who delivered his remarks in a speech before the National Association of Attorneys General conference this week, not only asked the AGs to be more alert and watchful of incidents of unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, but said the CFPB is looking for ways to allow states “to get more out of the remedies available” under the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

A copy of Chopra’s remarks can be accessed by clicking here.

The speech is yet another clear sign of the direction in which Chopra is looking to take the CFPB, with him mentioning again that repeat offenders need to be stopped, and that “corporate recidivism has become normalized and calculated as a cost of doing business.”

Chopra also said the CFPB is aimed at helping states protect consumers by expanding ways the two groups can work together. That includes making sure AGs know all of the different claims that they can bring under the CFPA. “We want to make clear that state AGs and regulators can enforce a range of federal prohibitions and allow you to join forces,” he said.

Among the examples that Chopra shared illustrating an enhanced partnership between states and the CFPB are:

  • Seeking civil penalties that the states could use to bolster deterrence in their states.
  • Making the CFPB’s victims relief fund, which currently has a balance of approximately $411 million, available to compensate victims identified in state enforcement actions.
  • Changing the rules so states do not need the CFPB to join their suits in order for victims to access victim relief funds.

Chopra also made his thoughts known on the topic of federal preemption of state laws, especially those dealing with consumer protection. “…many in Washington will always be tempted to hit delete on stronger state laws that protect the public,” Chopra said. “I think this is fundamentally wrong.”

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