CFPB's Packed First Year
Although the bureau formally opened for business last summer, it was this past January when former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray landed with a bang in the director's office. President Obama installed Cordray through a controversial recess appointment. But while critics questioned Cordray's hiring to no end, the bureau attempted to stay focused on formulating policy. (Image: Bloomberg News)
The CFPB continued steady hiring of senior staff to launch new operations. Hubert "Skip" Humphrey 3rd, the former Minnesota attorney general and son of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was announced in October as head of the bureau's Office of Older Americans. Last month, Humphrey's office issued a report warning of the risks of reverse mortgages for elderly borrowers.
In a proposal this past Monday, the CFPB outlined what could be new mortgage disclosure requirements to simplify the confusing stack of forms that borrowers review. The bureau released a prototype for a three-page loan estimate form and a five-page closing disclosure form. Separately, the CFPB proposed applying bans on prepayment and balloon charges to a greater portion of higher-cost loans. (Image: Thinkstock)
In June, the bureau launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which gives the public access through the agency's Website to searchable complaints submitted by customers about their experiences with a financial institution. But the database has drawn criticism from the industry, which warns that releasing such data could pose undue risk to an institution. (Image: Thinkstock)
Among the CFPB's issuances in the past year are model forms for financial transactions, including a prototype of a credit card contract unveiled in December intended to be more user-friendly for consumers. The prototype would shorten credit card contracts to about 1,100 words from typical 5,000-word agreements and cut down on legalese in favor of language that is easier to grasp. (Image: Thinkstock)
A January rule by the bureau requires remittance providers to disclose related fees, exchange rates between jurisdictions and the amount of funds received by a recipient. Information must be disclosed both when a transfer is first requested, and when a payment is made. (Image: Thinkstock)
As busy as the CFPB has been in its first year, a host of anticipated actions are still to come. High on the list is a long-awaited final rule defining a "qualified mortgage," which would establish new standards for how lenders evaluate a borrower's ability to repay. The bureau has said it expects the QM rule to be finalized before the end of 2012. (Image: Thinkstock)
Officially launched on July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent the past 12 months in rapid motion establishing the first regulatory regime devoted to looking out for financial institution customers. Initiatives included a consumer complaint database, prototypes for new credit card agreements and mortgage disclosures, and new disclosure requirements for remittances.
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