The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more commonly known as the CFPB, has had what can only be called a shaky track record thus far. The bureau only began officially doing business back in 2012, but they have made some serious waves along the way. Originally designed to help protect consumers from fraudulent financial operations, the CFPB has gone over and above the call of duty in the eyes of some financial experts and government officials.

CFPB_2tone_Horiz_RGB-e1382623205988The CFPB played a major part in the widely panned “Operation Choke Point.” This little operation was supposed to help protect the working class from financial misdoings. What it ended up doing, however, was driving many legitimate business owners nearly out of business and putting pressure on the mainstream banks to cut off financial services to business owners in industries that certain members of the CFPB were not too fond of. Businesses, ranging from payday lenders to ammunition dealers, found themselves in the crosshairs of the CFPB, and many were forced to close up shop for good.

Thankfully, though, some reasonable politicians finally decided to do something to rein in the CFPB a bit. Back in February of 2014, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 3193, The Consumer Financial Freedom and Washington Accountability Act. It was passed with a powerful bipartisan vote of 232 to 182. During debate about the bill, the sponsor, U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, insisted that the CFPB needed to be subject to serious reforms and that the bureau has so far proven to be a very dangerous agency with little to no accountability.

Duffy said, “This is a bill about accountability and transparency.” The Director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray said that for the bureau to do its job that they need to monitor 80 percent of all credit cards currently being used. That adds up to about one billion credit cards. A provision in the bill requires the CFPB to get permission from the American public before they access their sensitive information. Representative Duffy said, “If you are here to protect the consumer, why don’t you ask the consumer for permission and consent to take their information? This is the right thing to do. Let’s empower Congress and the American people. Let’s reform the CFPB and actually make it work.”

Cordray has not been one to back down from a fight in the past. However, now that this bill has officially been approved by the House, we can only hope that some new provisions will be put in place to get the CFPB under control a bit. This bureau ran roughshod over many businesses in recent years. The leadership of the CFPB has shown little to no remorse for all of the damage that they have caused to legitimate, small businesses as collateral damage during Operation Choke Point.

Here are a few high points from H.R. 3193 that should help to shake things up at CFPB headquarters:

• This bill puts the CFPB Director under accountability to a five member commission that will be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
• Subjects the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to routine appropriation measures and makes the CFPB an independent bureau instead of being under the Federal Reserve System.
• H.R. 3193 is actually a collection of bills that work together to help prevent the CFPB from being immune to accountability and more transparent in all of its actions.

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