When the Senate decided to appoint Rohit Chopra as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for the next five years, those in the title and mortgage industry were not happy.
The Senate vote was split in a count of 50 to 48, with Chopra coming out in the lead. Consumer finance professionals and attorneys specializing in these industries predict that Chopra will increase the CFPB’s enforcement activities.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed and created the CFPB under President Obama in 2010. Rohit Chopra of the CFPB supports Senator Warren, which means he is likely to take the agency in a different direction than former CFPB director Kathy Kraninger.
Kraninger, currently a lobbyist for a cryptocurrency company, preferred to go after small firms. Also, she was far less aggressive in pursuing enforcement activities than the previous administration.
Senator Patrick Toomey said that with Chopra in charge, the CFPB would once again be an agency that established rules using force. According to Toomey, Rohit Chopra of the CFPB sent out tweets about credit union accusations. Toomey said that the CFPB retracted Chopra’s tweets, which was a signal that Chopra would be the kind of leader who would “shoot first and ask questions later.”
Other financial industry experts predict that Chopra will direct the CFPB the same way the agency’s first director, Richard Cordray, did. He oversaw the CFPB from 2012 to 2017. When Cordray was the director, the agency recovered an estimated $12 billion in fines from financial organizations like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase.
The chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, expressed support for nominating Rohit Chopra to the CFPB. Motioning toward the lobbyists standing outside the Senate chambers, several members advised the mortgage industry to “brace themselves.”
Brown said, “The people that Chopra will be paid to protect don’t have lobbyists, or a political action committee, and certainly not a SuperPAC.”
This new appointment will be Chopra’s second time working for the CFPD. In 2011, Chopra received the appointment to be the agency’s student loan ombudsman. In 2018, the Senate unanimously confirmed his current position with the Federal Trade Commission. In this position, he has pressed for more hardline solutions against significant technology companies, such as Facebook, in his opposing opinions.
In January, President Joe Biden recommended Rohit Chopra to the CFPB. However, Chopra’s confirmation hearing in March concluded in a draw, which caused the nomination to be sent to the Senate for a vote. The confirmation hearing happened after Chopra met with the Senate Banking Committee and told them that the CFPB should inspect impending problems in forbearances.
When Rohit Chopra of the CFPD addressed the committee, he said, “I don’t want to see another foreclosure crisis in this country.” He also said, “We need to do everything we can to ensure the laws are being followed and homeowners can navigate their options.”
In his opening comments to the committee, Chopra said, “In the mortgage market, fair and effective oversight can promote a resilient and competitive financial sector and address the systemic inequities faced by families of color.” He said, “Perhaps most importantly, administration of consumer protection laws can help families navigate their options to save their homes.”