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Can a consumer agency survive in the new political climate?

The Trump administration, backed by GOP-majorities in Congress, has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its crosshairs.

Implemented just five years ago by the previous administration under Dodd-Frank financial reforms, there's talk of sweeping changes to — if not outright abolishment of — the CFPB.

Since its inception, the CFPB assisted 27 million American consumers with obtaining over $11 billion of relief from banks and other financial institutions.

The recent Wells Fargo consumer scandal was one example where the agency went to bat for consumers who were victims of nefarious and illegal schemes.

The CFPB has been a valuable resource for those victims who joined class-action litigation against the financial giant.

Part of the animus against the Bureau stems from its independent structure outside of Congressional bounds and budgetary constraints.

One analyst with Height Analytics stated, "Innately, there's nothing wrong with the CFPB. It's completely independent and outside the control of Congress . . . some Republicans . . . don't care for [that]."

For one, the budget of the CFPB gets its funding directly from the Federal Reserve instead of congressional appropriations. Some perceive that as handing a federal agency a blank check.

Another sticking point is the way the agency is led by a director instead of a bipartisan commission that one lobbyist sees as more stabilizing for the lending institutions.

Certainly, both factions have valid points to their arguments. But the fight to save the CFPB lies mainly with Democratic stalwarts like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has vowed to thwart any attempts to diminish the Bureau's consumer advocacy powers.

Even with an uncertain future ahead of it, the CFPB continues to focus on tightening restrictions for often-usurious payday lenders.

If you have been victimized by consumer fraud of any type, you may need to seek out a Minnesota attorney with experience in taking on businesses with shady or deceptive practices.

Source: WUWM, "Consumer watchdog agency is at risk under Trump," Nancy Marshall-Genzer, March 08, 2017

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