CFPB Hires Outspoken Critic of MERS and Payday Lending

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has hired Chris Peterson from the University of Utah, adding a formidable critic of mortgage securitization practices and payday lending to the young agency's staff.

As a law professor, Peterson was among the early critics of the Mortgage Electronic Recording System, questioning its standing to foreclose on homeowners and "MERS' culpability in fostering the mortgage foreclosure crisis," as he put it in a 2009 paper.

He's also written extensively about allegedly predatory policies by payday lenders, arguing for more intervention.

In a paper published this year by the Washington & Lee Law Review, Peterson argued that municipalities could and should force payday lenders to describe themselves as "predatory" on their storefront signage. He has served as an expert witness for state attorneys general and private litigation over lending practices.

Peterson's move to the CFPB was first noted by Ballard Spahr's CFPB Monitor blog on Tuesday. Peterson and the CFPB confirmed that he would be joining the bureau as a senior counsel.

"This appointment manifests the Bureau's willingness to appoint senior staff members who have staked out strong positions on the merits of highly contentious issues the Bureau will be facing," attorney Alan Kaplinsky wrote on the Ballard Spahr blog.

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