Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on H.R. 3126 Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 3126, a bill for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), Oct. 22 in a 39-29 vote. The bill does not have a date scheduled for a full House vote, and the Senate does not have a companion bill proposed at this time.

In case you've not been following this, the CFPA would have the authority to write new consumer protection rules in the arenas of lending and credit, to monitor banks and other financial institutions for compliance with these rules, and to penalize institutions for any infractions. The CFPA would also have the ability to ban products, marketing tactics, and other business practices that it deems “unfair, deceptive, or abusive.”

The Financial Services Committee added several amendments which altered the Obama Administration’s original outline of the agency. An amendment added Oct. 21 exempts the insurance agency from CFPA oversight and prevents the agency from interfering with state insurance regulators’ oversight of insurance companies and products. An amendment offered by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) adds five representatives from the fields of “consumer protection, fair lending and civil rights, representatives of depository institutions that primarily serve underserved communities, or representatives of communities that have been significantly impacted by higher-priced mortgages” to the CFPA Oversight Board. Another amendment phases out the Home Valuation Code of Conduct; the amendment would allow all originators, licensed or registered in accordance with the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act, to order appraisals directly.

The bill is now over at the House Energy and Commerce Committee which appears to be amending the bill to replace the executive who was to run the agency with a five-member commission with staggered terms.
- RH (Reid Haataja, posted by JSM)

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