Rock and Roll at the CFPB

Over the past few weeks, the CFPB has released a series of advisories, interpretive rulings, circulars, and examination policies instituting ground-breaking changes in U.S. consumer-finance policy without the muss and fuss of public notice and comment or the other niceties of the Administrative Procedure Act.  This process strengthens the agency’s hand to act decisively and attain immunity from the more lengthy rulemaking process that could expose it to Congressional sanction should Republicans take control of both Houses in the next Congress.  The White House will of course remain under Mr. Biden, but Congressional Review Act proceedings lay the groundwork for judicial challenge even if the rule in question isn’t revoked.  The CFPB’s rapid-fire approach to policymaking without rulemaking is also subject to challenge in the courts, but most likely only after one or another company has been charged under one or another of the Bureau’s edicts.  Unless or until that happens, most companies will do their best to comply with each of these edicts and the Bureau will have gotten a good deal of what its director, Rohit Chopra, says he wants in each of the forceful press releases accompanying these actions.