Protecting Consumer Finances

November 27, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 42
Has the government's watchdog fulfilled its mission?
By Victoria Finkle


Born out of the 2007-09 financial crisis when millions of Americans lost their homes due to foreclosures, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been a political lightning rod from the start. Liberals see the agency's core mission as protecting consumers against a sometimes rapacious financial industry. Created in 2010 during the Obama administration, the CFPB began reforming standards for mortgage lenders, debt collectors, payday lenders and others. But conservatives say the CFPB has too much power and lacks accountability, and that its regulatory efforts actually hurt consumers by limiting their ability to get financial help. This debate became more heated during the Trump administration. Under the leadership of Mick Mulvaney, a fierce agency critic, and then Kathy Kraninger, the CFPB scaled back its activities, paused pending enforcement and rule-making efforts and cut its own budget. Consumer advocates and others expect the bureau to become more aggressive when President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged to hold financial institutions accountable, takes office in January.

Photo of protesters outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2017 demanding that interim Director Mick Mulvaney step aside. (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)
Protesters outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2017 demand that interim Director Mick Mulvaney step aside. Critics charge that the agency, created to protect consumers from predatory financial institutions, has strayed from its mandate during the Trump administration. (Getty Images/Mark Wilson)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Consumer Protection
Jul. 29, 2022  Medical Debt in America
May 07, 2021  Reining In Big Tech
Nov. 27, 2020  Protecting Consumer Finances
Sep. 27, 2019  ESG Investing
Sep. 06, 2019  Health and Safety Regulations
Mar. 16, 2018  The Fight Over Net Neutrality
Mar. 11, 2016  Arbitrating Disputes
Nov. 11, 2011  Google's Dominance
Jan. 23, 2009  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Dec. 19, 2008  Limiting Lawsuits
Oct. 12, 2007  Consumer Safety
Feb. 17, 1978  Consumer Protection: Gains and Setbacks
Nov. 15, 1972  Toy Safety
Mar. 03, 1960  Consumer Protection
Commercial Law
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Credit and Debt
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Economic Crises
Federal Courts
Infectious Diseases
Mortgage Loans and Home Finance
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Regulation and Deregulation
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Welfare and Welfare Reform