President Biden, whose term as President officially began today on January 20, 2021, is expected to nominate Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the CFPB. Mr. Chopra is a notoriously strong consumer advocate with ties to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Mr. Chopra is known in Washington, D.C. for his position as a Democratic member of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It is via his tenure at the FTC and the issues that he has chosen to focus on while at the FTC that has guided the assumptions of what Mr. Chopra would focus on at the CFPB if he is confirmed. Mr. Chopra has pushed the FTC to be more skeptical of private equity buyers and more aggressive in using its rulemaking powers to rein in businesses. It is also important to note that Mr. Chopra is no stranger to the CFPB, he previously served as a CFPB assistant director and as student loan ombudsperson after the agency opened its doors in 2011.
One of Chopra’s first likely priorities at the helm of the CFPB would be to restore the agency’s focus on enforcing fair lending laws. Two other potential items listed as priorities include cracking down on payday lenders and building up robust case law on what counts as an “abusive act or practice” under the Dodd-Frank law. Chopra also worked on student lending issues as a special adviser at the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 after leaving the CFPB, so it is expected that there will be a focus on student lending and student loans. The debt settlement, student loan, consumer loan, and payments industry as a whole should continue to keep an eye on the trajectory of the CFPB during the Biden Administration under Mr. Chopra.
Democrats expect Mr. Chopra to return the CFPB to its days of “actually fighting for consumers.” President Biden directly said of his decision to nominate Mr. Chopra, “Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves,” Biden said in a statement. “These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward.”
Please continue to keep an eye on our regulatory updates; we will keep you informed on any and all changes made to the agency that may impact your businesses throughout the Biden Administration.