Ensuring there’s a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, keeping a “watchful eye” on financial regulators as well as ensuring the big banks are adhering to Dodd-Frank rules top House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters’ priorities in the new year.
During a speech Wednesday at the Center for American Progress, the California Democrat said that she would ensure financial regulators “are carrying out their statutory duties, including holding bad actors accountable,” as well as work “diligently to undo the damage” that Mick Mulvaney “has wrought during his time” as director of the CFPB. (He was replaced by Kathy Kraninger in December.)
Waters said she plans to reintroduce soon her Consumers First Act, which she said “reverses many of [Mulvaney’s] known harmful actions.”
The committee, Waters stated, will also “be paying very close attention to the growth of financial technology, or so-called ‘fintech’ firms,” adding that regulators “need to address the evolving financial marketplace appropriately.”
Said Waters: “I have great hopes that fintech firms can open up opportunities for those who have been excluded from access to responsible credit, but I strongly believe that there must be strong protections for consumers of these financial products, and that abusive payday lending practices must not be allowed.”
As the fintech sector grows, she continued, “there are opportunities for unmet credit needs to be addressed, as well as risks that minority communities may be preyed upon or discriminated against by some of these companies.”
She’ll also ensure that safeguards put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act — such as “robust reforms for our largest and most complex financial institutions,” the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Volcker Rule — stay intact.
“All of these reforms were designed to help prevent a future financial crisis,” Waters said. “The committee will be paying close attention to whether financial regulators try to weaken these important reforms, and keeping an eye on the big banks and their activities, including by holding many hearings.”