Biden choice for watchdog makes debut in nomination hearing
CHARLOTTE, N. C. — President Joe Biden's nominee to run the federal consumer watchdog agency faced some host i l e q u e s t i o ni ng f r o m Republican Senators on Tuesday, but appeared to be l i kely to be confirmed with Democrats controlling a majority in the Senate.
Rohi t Chopr a , c u r - r e n t l y a D e mo c r a t i c c o m m i s s i o n e r o n t h e F e d e r a l T r a d e Commission, would be t h e t h i r d p e r ma n e n t director of the decadeol d agency. Presi dent Donald Trump's director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Krani nger , was a s k e d t o resign by President Biden on the first day of his term.
Chopra said he planned to “work with (senators) to build a new bipartisan consensus” for the bureau.
“I pledge to be a good partner to each of you and approach the agenc y ' s mi s s i o n wi t h a n open mind and attuned to market realities,” he said in prepared remarks.
Chopra would inherit an agency that's a shell of its former self in the aftermath of the Trump a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . T h e CFPB drastically scaled b a c k i t s e n f o r c e ment actions, both in number and size, and it relegated concerns like fair lending to a much smaller position inside the bureau.
H e s a i d , i f c o n - firmed, he would likely r e t u r n t h e b u r e a u t o a g g r e s s i v e l y f i n e a n d penalize companies for bad behaviors.
“Economically it does not make sense that you rip someone off and don't have to pay a penalty for it,” Chopra told senators. “Restitution is a critical part of the CFPB's work.”
He also said he planned to return fair lending to a prominent position inside the bureau.
“It should play a critical role at the bureau,” he said.
The CFPB was created f ol l owing t he housing bubble and financial crisis of the late 2000s, which directly led to the Great Recession. Part of the law that overhauled the entire financial i ndustry, the CFPB was given the mission to be an aggressive regulator and a watchdog f or t he American consumers.