Twelve years and $16 billion in relief for consumers later, little fanfare is expected today for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from predatory lenders and other bad financial industry actors that have been held accountable by the agency for ripping off, deceiving and mistreating American families. Greedy Wall Street banks won’t be sending any birthday cards after the CFPB’s initiative to cap credit card late fees – part of the Biden administration’s major crackdown on abusive junk fees – has already saved Americans a staggering $4.25 billion. And members of the MAGA House majority like House Financial Services Committee chairman Patrick McHenry won’t be sending any press releases praising the CFPB’s years of success protecting consumers after aligning themselves with industries with an ax to grind against the bureau that gives them millions of dollars.
The CFPB continues to get results for American families and workers despite a full-scale assault seeking to defund, defang and do away with the agency, including a flurry of anti-CFPB bills advanced by House Financial Service Committee Republicans who are deep in the pocket of Wall Street banks. And the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider a lawsuit against the bureau brought by the payday loan industry with a long and sordid history of consumer abuse. If the high court rules in favor of the predatory lenders, it would likely lead to the worst rollback of consumer protections in history.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is under attack in all directions from predatory lenders, greedy Wall Street banks and Congressional Republicans in industry’s pocket, yet the agency keeps delivering on behalf of wronged consumers,” said Liz Zelnick, Accountable.Us’ Director of Economic Security And Corporate Power. “Every settlement reached against a bad financial actor, every dollar returned to a defrauded or mistreated consumer by the CFPB is a reminder how important it is to keep the agency strong and independent. It’s a reminder how conservatives in Congress like Patrick McHenry who let their financial industry donors write their own rules are putting consumers at greater risk of scams and abuse.”
CFPB Keeps Delivering Results for Consumers Over Industry-Fueled Obstruction. Just in the Last Year…
- CFPB ordered Bank of America to pay “more than $100 million to customers for systematically double-dipping on fees imposed on customers with insufficient funds in their account, withholding reward bonuses explicitly promised to credit card customers, and misappropriating sensitive personal information to open accounts without customer knowledge or authorization.”
- CFPB reached a settlement, with a $9 million penalty, with Citizens Bank over allegations the bank violated consumer financial protection laws and rules that protect individuals when they dispute credit card transactions.
- CFPB ordered scandal-plagued Wells Fargo to return over $2 billion in ill-gotten money to 16 million customers on top of a $1.7 billion civil penalty for illegal activity involving “several of its product lines” including auto loans and mortgages.
- CFPB ordered Regions Bank “to pay $50 million into the CFPB’s victims relief fund and to refund at least $141 million to customers harmed by its illegal surprise overdraft fees. From August 2018 through July 2021, Regions charged customers surprise overdraft fees on certain ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases. The bank charged overdraft fees even after telling consumers they had sufficient funds at the time of the transactions.”
- CFPB ordered U.S. Bank to make harmed customers whole and pay a $37.5 million penalty “for illegally accessing its customers’ credit reports and opening checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and lines of credit without customers’ permission. U.S. Bank pressured and incentivized its employees to sell multiple products and services to its customers, including imposing sales goals as part of their employees’ job requirements. In response, U.S. Bank employees unlawfully accessed customers’ credit reports and sensitive personal data to apply for and open unauthorized accounts.”
- CFPB fined “Bank of America $100 million for botching the disbursement of state unemployment benefits at the height of the pandemic. Bank of America automatically and unlawfully froze people’s accounts with a faulty fraud detection program, and then gave them little recourse when there was, in fact, no fraud. [The] order requires Bank of America to undertake a process that is estimated to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in redress to consumers.”