President Biden’s plan to “hit the ground running” with “immediate, urgent relief to Americans” is moving forward with nominations of key agencies relating to consumer protections and Wall Street regulations.
Former student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Rohit Chopra has been picked by President Biden to lead the agency. He’s also nominated Gary Gensler to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chopra worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren to form the Consumer Protection Bureau in 2011, according to The Washington Post, and has served on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since 2018.
Chopra took student loan lenders to task during his time as a student loan ombudsman, helping to establish President Obama’s Student Aid Bill of Rights in 2015.
He became a critic of Silicon Valley and tech companies as the Democratic commissioner of the FTC, The Washington Post reports, releasing a joint statement in December sharing concern over the influence services like Google and Facebook have over our lives.
“It is alarming that we still know so little about companies that know so much about us,” he and Republican Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said.
After graduating from the Wharton School, Chopra went on to work as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
The Biden administration’s nomination of Chopra is a return to its initial mission to protect the consumer interests, not business ones, according to Politico.
Experts say expect challenges in the nomination of Chopra, if only because the entire agency, considered a “brain child” of Sen. Warren has always been a target of conservatives. Many Republican makers have called the CFPB an executive overreach, according to Politico.
Chopra is said to be focusing first on enforcing laws surrounding fair lending, especially with payday loans. According to Politico. Copra will also focus on further defining prohibitions under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
President Biden’s nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission has experience as a Wall Street regulator under former President Obama.
Gary Gensle currently works as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and helped then President-elect Biden’s transition team.
He served as the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the 2008 financial crisis, according to The Washington Post, after attaining partner-status with Goldman Sachs.
Big banks lobbied against his efforts to impose stricter regulations on financial products, including the infamous credit swaps that led to the mortgage crisis, Politico reports.
Democrats want to pull back the “largely pro-business” stance the SEC has taken since President Trump’s election, according to Politico, and enact rules in Biden’s first 100 days, including climate risks in company valuations and restricting political donations.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Banking Committee, told Politco he expects a “more pro-consumer attitude” at federal agencies in charge of financial rules with these nominations and a “more antagonistic approach” to Wall Street with their agenda.
Top Class Actions is tracking developments with the President Biden’s transition team and will continue reporting on relevant changes that impact consumers.
What do you think of President Biden’s nominations to lead the CFPB and SEC? Do you like the more pro-consumer stance they want to take? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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