Scott Powell and I have a piece in Investor’s Business Daily describing a few of the troubling features of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency is the progeny of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was supposed to fix the problems that led to the 2008 financial crisis. For some reason, however, the CFPB has been given unprecedented control over financial institutions that didn’t have a darn thing to do with the crisis.
This week, the CFPB slapped a penalty on Capital One that could end up costing the bank $210 million. This is the agency’s first public enforcement case, which requires Capital One to pay out money to some two million customers of the bank.
The CFPB is now turning its attention to private credit ratings agencies, such as Equifax Inc., Experian and TransUnion. These agencies play a vital role in our economy, but they’re not widely loved.
These are just the sorts of actions I would expect from this shadowy agency at this point: high profile enforcements against large, unpopular targets, that are guaranteed to be popular with ordinary Americans. This provides the perfect camouflage for a bureau that is an independent unit funded by and located inside the Federal Reserve, and yet outside the review of either the Fed or Congress.