Chopra Stands His Ground on Sweeping Agenda, Administrative Process

The Senate Banking Committee’s hearing today with CFPB Director Chopra was a sharply partisan session with little immediate impact on what Mr. Chopra plans to do to achieve his sweeping new vision. Although the debate will have little to no impact on bank-merger policy, much of the session focused on the actions Mr. Chopra took in concert with Acting Chairman Gruenberg to wrest FDIC control from former Chair McWilliams and issue an RFI suggesting significant changes to both merger analytics and bank-resolution policy (see FSM Report MERGER9). Led by Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA), Republicans also took strong exception to both the substance and process related to the Bureau’s revised examination manual expanding the scope of UDAAP enforcement actions (see FSM Report CONSUMER39). They also argued that Mr. Chopra’s campaign against repeat offenders is unnecessary and procedurally suspect, but Chairman Brown (D-OH) strongly defended it as did Sen. Warren (D-MA), who urged the Bureau and banking agencies to break up Wells Fargo. As this report details, Democrats also pressed for action on issues that are to some degree outside the Bureau’s jurisdiction – e.g., vendor concentration –as well as on the need to govern bigtech. Mr. Chopra’s testimony highlighted the latter issue as a top agency priority, noting also plans to ensure consumer choice in arenas such as loan servicing.