Rohit Chopra, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), plans to go to bat for Americans struggling with debt amid the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
He said he wants to shield them from abuse by lenders, adding that the idea is to “not forget that the financial lives of millions of Americans lay in ruin,” according to WSJ.
“Many have seen their jobs disappear and will not be able to easily resume their [rent and mortgage] payments,” he told a Senate panel considering his nomination Tuesday (March 2), per WSJ.
Among his priorities will be making sure credit reports are accurate, helping consumers who are behind on rent and mortgage payments, and making sure that so-called payday lenders assess their customers’ abilities to repay short-term, high-interest loans, WSJ reported.
Supporters of Chopra say he won’t hesitate to use the CFPB tools, including civil investigative demands, which are a form of investigative subpoena, and civil monetary penalties, in order to crack down on lenders or loan servicers suspected of abusing the system or their clients. And the bureau will look more into credit reporting, in particular information that could be erroneous from customers’ credit reports after they had entered into deferment or forbearance during the pandemic, according to WSJ.
In February, PYMNTS reported that the Biden administration would be focusing on the ways debt collectors and payday lenders interact with their customers, which would give the CFPB a more up-front role, looking into how companies charge and collect fees.
The CFPB said it received over 467,200 consumer complaints from the period from October 2019 through September 2020, a 26 percent increase from the prior period.