National Consumers League

NCL applauds Supreme Court rejection of Consumer Bureau challenge

January 15, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—In the face of unrelenting attacks against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a leading consumer organization is calling the Supreme Court’s rejection of the challenge to the CFPB a “huge victory for consumer protection.”

The CFPB was set up under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Since opening its doors in 2011, the Bureau has won $10.8 billion in consumer relief through enforcement actions.

This statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director:

The CFPB’s independence from political winds is critically important to its work. Under former Director Rich Cordray, the Bureau took on many important cases and did a superb job of holding companies accountable for abusive financial practices. Since then, there have been efforts by Republicans and the financial industry to undercut its authority, arguing the agency had too broad powers.

At issue before the Court was whether the power of the CFPB's sole director is in violation of the authority the U.S. Constitution gives a president to appoint and remove certain federal officials. A ruling in favor of the bank could have allowed a president to fire the agency's director for any reason.

Congress, in its wisdom, set up the Bureau to be an independent agency and a bulwark against illegal practices of debt collection firms, student loan servicers, and unauthorized opening of fake bank accounts as we saw with Wells Fargo.

Rejecting the challenge to the CFPB’s constitutionality, brought by the State National Bank of Big Spring of Texas, now allows the Bureau to carry out its critically important consumer protection mission. Under Cordray, the Bureau amassed a terrific record of bringing cases against the worst actors in the financial service industry. Although the Trump Administration has shelved several rules and aggressively curtailed the agency's enforcement, NCL has urged the Bureau to carry on Director Cordray’s consumer protection mission under the new director, Kathy Kraninger.

The indefensible attacks against the Bureau, led by organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that tout the absurd industry line that the Bureau is unconstitutional, are silenced for now. We agree with those in Congress who properly credit the agency for playing a critical role in protecting consumers.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.