Thanks to Wall Street reform legislation, The United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) begins
work on July 21, 201. The Bureau has plenty to do and plenty of power to do
it, even without a director in place. Here are ten items that the CFPB can
start right now using existing authority.
1. Mortgages: Stop mortgage companies from charging illegal fees,
keeping sloppy records of what people owe, forcing homeowners into
overpriced insurance, or rushing to foreclose before considering home-saving
options. Authority: Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement
2. Overdraft and Bank Fees: Stop banks from tricking people into
incurring overdraft fees, help consumers get the cheapest overdraft
coverage, and provide clear information on bank fees. Authority:
Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), Truth in Savings Act (TISA), TILA.
3. Internet and Bank Payday Loans: Stop 400% internet and bank
"account advance" payday loans from grabbing consumers' wages, Social Security or
unemployment benefits before families pay food or rent. Authority: EFTA.
4. Prepaid Cards: Protect prepaid debit cards, a growing but
unregulated bank account substitute, from identity theft, bank errors
and hidden fees. Authority: EFTA, TISA.
5. Credit Cards: Get inside the books of credit card companies to
make sure they are not charging illegal fees or rate increases and help
consumers shop for the best card without back-end tricks and traps. Authority:
6. Credit Reports: Force the credit bureaus to clean-up
error-plaguedcredit reports and to respond to consumers trying to fix mistakes.
Authority: Fair Credit Reporting Act.
7. Student Loans: Help students avoid expensive student loans when
cheaper aid or loans are available. Authority: TILA.
8. Auto Loans: Prohibit kick-backs to auto dealers who put
consumers, especially minorities, in more expensive loans and stop bait-and-switch
tactics. Authority: Equal Credit Opportunity Act, TILA.
9. Debt Collectors and Debt Buyers: Go after debt collectors who
make illegal threats, harass people for debts they do not owe, and pursue
zombie debt long after it expires. Authority: Fair Debt Collection Practices
10. Money Transfers: Ensure that consumers who are transferring money
across the country or across the world know exactly what the transfer
will cost and how much their family will receive. Authority: EFTA.
For a longer list of action items for the CFPB, see An Agenda for the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Challenges for a New Era in