Financial Regulatory Reform
At the peak of the financial crisis, we deemed many of our nation's biggest financial institutions “too big to fail” using taxpayer dollars to shield banks from the results of irresponsible investing in an effort to keep the U.S. economy afloat. Those bailouts highlighted the need for significant financial regulatory reform — laws like Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Act. I will continue to monitor financial institutions to ensure we protect taxpayers’ significant investment, and never again repeat the mistakes that led to the recession.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
During the financial crisis, millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure, and an estimated $7 trillion to $11 trillion in household wealth disappeared. Worse still, inappropriate investments at banks were to blame, yet taxpayers were left holding the bag. That’s one of the reasons Congress passed legislation to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and agency whose mission I strongly support.
CFPB’s primary mission is to protect consumers from toxic financial products, using its authority to ensure integrity in the consumer financial markets and close the gaps that allowed predatory actors to rule and ruin the marketplace. There was no true accountability for consumer financial protection throughout the Federal government before Congress passed Dodd-Frank and Consumer Protection Act, allowing predatory and abusive lending to take root and grow without regard for consumers.
Although there has been partisan concern about the regulatory role and power given to the CFPB, this agency has several checks and balances built in that will prevent it from threatening free markets. The Bureau is subject to many of the same restrictions that apply to other federal agencies, including the Administrative Procedure Act, and congressional and judicial review. It also has a budgetary cap that no other federal bank regulator has. Its rulemaking power can be vetoed by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a check that is unique to the Bureau. And it must make particular findings to exercise its rule-making authority and consult with other banking regulators when issuing proposed rules.
I’m committed to making sure that this agency has the tools it needs to protect my constituents and all taxpayers from the harm we saw during the recession.
As the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I’ve called for numerous hearings to better understand the dangerous practices and trading strategies at banking institutions causing losses totaling in billions of dollars.
In May of 2012, I requested a hearing with JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon and other bank executives in order to investigate trading practices that resulted in more than $2 billion in losses. JPMorgan’s experience exemplified the risks that continue to threaten the stability of our financial system and highlight the critical importance of the Dodd-Frank legislation — making understanding what went wrong there crucial to preventing it from happening again.
Encouraging Stronger Federal Reserve Oversight
In February 2014, I partnered with Senator Elizabeth Warren to send a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen requesting that she revise the rules governing how and when the Board of Governors may delegate critical supervisory and enforcement responsibilities to Board staff.
The Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve play a critical role in supervising financial operations, and enforcing penalties when negative activities occur. At a minimum, a formal vote of the Board should be required before the Fed can enter into consent orders that equal or exceed $1 million or that include a requirement that a bank officer be removed and/or new management installed.
As it currently stands, Board Members rarely vote on the Fed’s supervisory and enforcement decisions. Under current rules, consent orders are routinely entered into by staff without ever receiving a vote of the Board — meaning that the highest level of review is often never reached in situations where it is clearly merited.
In 2013, for example, the Fed staff entered into amended consent orders with 13 mortgage servicers accused of illegal foreclosure practices—one of the largest and most significant enforcement actions in the Fed’s history—but Board Members did not formally review or approve the settlement. These consent orders came under significant criticism because their methodology allows mortgage servicers to receive $5.7 billion in “credits” based on unpaid loan balances rather than the actual amount of relief provided to consumers.
Increasing the Board’s direct role in overseeing enforcement and supervision would strengthen the Fed’s efforts to reduce systemic risk in our financial system.
More on Financial Regulatory Reform
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 7, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. John Sarbanes, and Rep. Donna Edwards (all D-MD) sent a letter urging Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray to follow Maryland’s lead to develop a final rule that will protect consumers from predatory lenders.
UNITED STATES CONGRESS
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2015
Jennifer Hoffman (Cummings): 202-226-5181
Lacey Rose (Warren): 202-224-2292
Cummings and Warren to Hold “Middle Class Prosperity Project”
Forum in Baltimore on Predatory Financial Practices and Economic Injustice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. (July 16, 2013) - Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, as the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a statement in response to the Senate’s confirmation today of Richard Cordray to continue leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
You may read the full statement on the Oversight Committee website by clicking here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC (Apr. 23, 2013) – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), as the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, joined Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) in sending a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg urging them to take immediate joint regulatory action to prohibit banks from trapping customers in high-cost payday loans.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In a vote set for later this week that's not likely to get beyond the House, members will spar over the utility of federal regulations on businesses.
Members began to lay the groundwork for that debate Monday at a Rules Committee hearing on the GOP measure. Republicans argued the bill will cut red tape facing businesses and create jobs while Democrats suggested if the measure became law U.S. consumers could be imperiled.
So what will the congressmen be arguing when H.R. 4078 comes to the floor later this week? Members offered a preview on Monday.