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Senate Confirms Progressive Favorite Chopra as CFPB Head

Authored By: Lewis Wood on 9/30/2021

Source: Market Intelligence

The Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Rohit Chopra as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, rankling Republicans who argued the CFPB would revert to its aggressive posture during President Obama's administration.

"We look forward to working with Director Chopra on the regulatory issues that matter to our member credit unions,” noted League President/CEO Carrie Hunt. “The agency has a full agenda, including new proposals such as the small-business data collection proposal, possibly revisiting rules to restrict payday lending and rework debt collection, plus other initiatives on fintech, all of which directly affect credit unions or the marketplace in which we operate.”

Chopra, currently a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission and previously the CFPB's student loan ombudsman, has a track record as a progressive regulator and is expected to continue that path as leader of the CFPB. The vote faced sharp opposition from Republicans and support from liberal groups.

The Senate Banking Committee sent Chopra's nomination to the Senate floor Sept. 22, with Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, saying Chopra "is ready to stand up to the biggest banks and the most powerful corporations."

At a March hearing before the committee, Chopra said that, if confirmed, he would ramp up scrutiny on a range of issues facing consumers, adding he would pay particularly close attention to pandemic-induced foreclosures and evictions. Chopra stressed that under his leadership, the CFPB would target abusive practices by mortgage servicers and would work to ensure that consumers get accurate information and help with their home loans.

Progressive groups praised Chopra before the Senate vote. The Center for Responsible Lending called him "the consumer watchdog our country needs. He is up to the challenge of protecting people's wallets from predatory practices, ranging from lending discrimination to COVID relief scams to abusive debt collection practices."

Republicans vehemently opposed Chopra. In a prepared statement before the vote, Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., said Chopra would return the CFPB to "the lawless, overreaching, highly politicized agency it was during the Obama administration."

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