Why Republicans Want to Declaw the Nation’s Consumer Financial Watchdog Agency

NBC News discusses the Financial CHOICE Act with Iain Murray.

A new bill aims to dismantle the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent watchdog that protects consumers and investors and has saved Americans almost $12 billion since it was created six years ago.

Supporters say the Financial CHOICE Act will undo the regulatory burdens that have harmed financial service companies and provide Congress with much-needed oversight. But consumer advocates insist the bill would eliminate the CFPB’s independence and greatly reduce its ability to regulate.

A coalition of conservative groups supports the CHOICE Act, including Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Limited Government, Tea Party Nation, Freedom Partners, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The CEI isn’t pulling any punches. A recent post on its website is titled: Abolishing the CFPB Would be Good for Consumers — and the Constitution.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has certainly provided some relief from bad actors. Whether that’s enough to justify its existence, I’m very unsure,” Iain Murray, CEI’s vice president for strategy, told NBC News. “At the very least we need to have the CFPB under some sort of oversight.”

Murray believes the CFPB was set up under a false premise — that people need protection from financial products the same way they need protection from consumer products, like a toaster that catches fire.

“The trouble is that loans aren’t toasters,” he said. “If a toaster’s faulty, it’s faulty for everybody. If a loan is faulty, it may be faulty for some people, but it might be exactly what other people need in their circumstances. CFPB has a one-size-fits-all mentality baked into its philosophy which is inappropriate for an industry like the financial services industry.”

Read more at NBC News.