Jeffrey Joseph Op-Ed: Consumer Protection Bureau Bad for Business

by Jeff Sovern

In the Detroit News. Professor Joseph refers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as "purposefully-misnamed," as if members of Congress sat around saying "let's create an agency that will hurt consumers but give it a name that suggests it will protect them." So what does he think is wrong with the Bureau? He cites a report that says it is insufficiently transparent and doesn't do enough to protect consumer data. He also states "recently the bureau has been seeking to eliminate dealer-negotiated car financing and replace it with a flat fee method of compensation. According to one analysis, such a move would eliminate a key source of price competition between auto dealers — the ability to vary interest rates — and ultimately result in restricting consumer choice." But he neglects to mention that such car financing has led to discriminatory lending. He does mention some praise for the Bureau in the report, but also claims that "taxpayers have good reason to be scared" of the Bureau and calls for it to be subjected to "a little more heat."  Oh, and the Bureau's actual accomplishments for consumers? Its enforcement actions and rules?  They somehow were omitted from the op-ed. Unfortunately, Professor Joseph's op-ed followed his recommendation for more heat, but casts little light.

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