Groups Launch Ad Campaign, Issue White Paper, Detailing ‘Unlawful’ Actions at CFPB

Rohit Chopra, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has finally gone too far, in the eyes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and three national banking trade groups, who yesterday started campaigns to draw attention to what they labeled as Chopra’s “radical agenda and reckless actions.”

The Chamber of Commerce launched an advertising campaign — described as an “extraordinary step” in one published report — to “expose and defeat” Chopra’s “ideologically driven agenda to radically change the nature of America’s financial services industry.”

Separately, the Chamber, along with the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, and the Independent Community Bankers of America, released a white paper they had commissioned detailing how the Bureau overstepped its authority when it announced that it would examine banks to make sure they are testing and eliminating illegal discrimination. The CFPB does not have the authority to “extend fair lending laws beyond the bounds carefully set by Congress,” the groups write in their report.

“The CFPB’s action has tremendous implications for consumers, for banks, and for financial markets at large,” the groups write in the report. “It represents an enormous self-expansion of the CFPB’s authority that stands contrary to law and the intent of Congress. Such sweeping changes that alter the legal duties of so many are the proper province of Congress, not of independent regulatory agencies, and the CFPB cannot ignore the requirements of the APA and CRA.”

In it’s ad campaign, the Chamber accuses Chopra of “breaking time-tested norms of policy-making and skirting the agency’s legal authority.” The ad is aimed at “influencers and policymakers” in Washington, D.C., and is intended to draw attention to “major changes” that are “happening without much attention,” the Chamber’s Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, said in the report.

Along with the ad campaign — which the Chamber says will cost “six figures,” the group also filed six Freedom of Information Act requests and sent two letters to Chopra outlining the “unlawful and imprudent” actions taken by him and the Bureau.

Bradley did mention that oversight of the CFPB may tighten after the mid-term elections, if Republicans take back control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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