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"How to navigate a CFPB administrative proceeding" by John R. Coleman (The Review of Banking & Financial Services)

The Review of Banking & Financial Services

John R. Coleman

After a slow start, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) Director Rohit Chopra’s enforcement program appears to be gaining steam.  The CFPB has aggressively enforced federal consumer financial law during its short history, with an average of more than 30 public enforcement actions per calendar year through 2020.1  Given his reputation as an advocate of vigorous law enforcement, it was surprising that the CFPB brought only five enforcement actions in Chopra’s first six months at the helm.

It now appears that this slow start may have reflected a change in enforcement priorities, not a reluctance to exercise the CFPB’s enforcement authority.  In recent congressional testimony, Chopra signaled that, under his leadership, the CFPB would be shifting its enforcement focus away from smaller entities and towards larger entities. He also signaled that the CFPB would be less likely to settle matters, predicting that its approach “may lead to more litigation.”  Consistent with these statements, the CFPB brought four enforcement actions during Chopra’s seventh month at the helm, three of which were against large, publicly traded financial services providers, and two of which are contested.

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