Warren: CFPB should take a closer look at overdraft fees, crypto

WASHINGTON— Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is widely perceived as the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and she used the occasion of the agency’s 10th anniversary to call for more robust oversight of cryptocurrency and banks’ overdraft practices.

“There are so many areas still where the bureau can make a difference,” the Democratic senator said during a virtual event held by several groups, including Americans for Financial Reform, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Center for Responsible Lending, acknowledging the CFPB’s anniversary.

“Even in the face of…opposition from politicians and from industry, the agency survived [the Trump administration] and stayed strong, in part because it is built right,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said of the CFPB.


“I think one of them is overdraft fees,” Warren said. “This is an area where there’s a lot of predatory behavior by giant banks that make billions of dollars in profits and squeeze every last penny out of customers who are struggling.”

Rules governing overdraft fees “could help families a lot,” Warren said, adding that she is confident that the CFPB’s new leadership “will use every tool in its toolkit to protect consumers and to hold bad actors accountable.” Dave Uejio is currently serving as the agency’s acting director. President Joe Biden has nominated Rohit Chopra, a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, as the CFPB’s permanent director, but he has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

The CFPB should also take a closer look at cryptocurrency, Warren said.

“We’re seeing an essentially unregulated market grow by the day, and financial scams are growing with it,” she said. “Crypto is an area that I think all of our financial regulators are going to need to work together to address, and that means the CFPB needs a seat at the table in those discussions on these issues.”

Warren is credited with coming up for the idea for the CFPB in 2007 while she was a professor at Harvard Law School, and later worked with the Obama administration get the agency up and running. The CFPB officially opened on July 21, 2011. Warren ran for Senate in 2012.

During the Trump administration, Warren routinely criticized then-acting director Mick Mulvaney and former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger for limiting the agency’s scope, and repeated Monday that their leadership was “not a great period for the agency.”

“Mick Mulvaney and Kathy Kraninger did everything they could to try and gut the CFPB,” Warren said. “There’s no doubt that during the years that they were in charge, that the agency did not live up to its potential.”

Still, she added, “Even in the face of all this opposition from politicians and from industry, the agency survived and stayed strong, in part because it is built right, and, in part, because thousands of dedicated career employees showed up to work every day, even under leadership they didn’t believe in.”

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