Oversight Report on CFPB Finds White House Influence, Tightening Credit on Americans

December 14, 2012

WASHINGTON –Today, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry released a staff report, “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Threat to Credit Access in the United States.” The report details how the CFPB’s structure and mandate will lead to credit tightening for Americans across the country.  The report also raises concerns about the CFPB’s regulatory independence, noting a White House attempt to influence CFPB policies.

The report notes, “The controversial and legally questionable selection of its first director – former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray – adds unneeded uncertainty to financial markets.  The CFPB’s apparently close relationship with the Obama Administration has allowed the White House to attempt to use the Bureau to further its partisan agenda.  These circumstances, and the manner in which the Bureau has begun to exercise its authority, suggest that the CFPB will become a run-away regulator unlike any other in American history.”

The report cites an email from the White House to CFPB staff proposing a meeting to “brainstorm” how the CFPB’s work can “dovetail” with the Administration’s policies.

“With unprecedented power and no accountability, the CFPB could wreak havoc on credit access for millions of Americans” said Chairman Issa.  “It is also troubling that the White House has attempted to influence policy at a supposedly independent agency.  For the foreseeable future, continued congressional oversight of this new agency will be necessary to ensure that the CFPB does not reduce credit access and that the CFPB’s broad unchecked powers are not exploited for the Administration’s partisan agenda.”

“Entrepreneurs across the country continue to struggle as they are left without traditional means of accessing capital,” continued Congressman McHenry. “Unfortunately, as Congress attempts to provide creative new solutions to this problem, our regulators seem to be pushing in the opposite direction, drying up capital and holding back small business growth.”

Read the Oversight report here.