2 Years In: What the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Did

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Despite political hurdles, the federal watchdog agency has made many changes to the way financial companies operate.

Two years ago this week, a federal agency was created to stop the financial industry from walking all over consumers.

From the beginning, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been in a battle for its life. Republicans in Congress long opposed the nomination of its director, Richard Cordray, and only finally relented earlier this month.

“He was confirmed one day shy of the second anniversary of his nomination by Mr. Obama,” The New York Times wrote. Republicans also pushed to eliminate the agency’s independence by putting it under the supervision of Congress, and they’re still interested in “structural reforms.”

Now Morgan Drexen Inc., a software company that works with debt relief lawyers, is suing the CFPB after being told it faces legal action from the agency, The Wall Street Journal says. The company will argue that the agency is unconstitutional. It’s not the first time the bureau has heard that one. “In 2012, two conservative groups along with a Texas bank challenged the constitutionality of the CPFB and other pieces of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul,” the Journal says.

Despite all the fuss over the agency’s authority, it has done a lot. Here’s a summary of accomplishments highlighted by LowCards.com:

  • Handled more than 175,000 consumer complaints related to credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, and student and auto loans.
  • Forced American Express, Capital One and Discover to pay consumers back a combined $425 million because of misleading sales tactics.
  • Provided consumers with form letters to help dispute debts.
  • Investigated the frequency and cost of overdraft charges and found that banks are making more money from them.
  • Provided stay-at-home spouses easier access to credit.
  • Began monitoring for issues involving credit reports, including inaccurate information, the inability of consumers to get them, their misuse, and problems with identity theft protection services.
  • Began analyzing tons of data about credit products for signs of abuse.

As of January, it also had a nearly $44 million budget surplus. Not bad for a toddler.

Stacy Johnson

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