In the wake of the recent election, the mind-boggling possibility of a return to the pre-crisis world of 2008 is now a real threat. That is precisely what would happen if Congress and the incoming Administration forget why the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted and what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has done in a few short years to restore sanity, market discipline, and fairness to consumer financial markets.
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Despite criticism from some that Wall Street was saved while Main Street was ignored, consumers have benefited from elimination of the most abusive practices and compensation for at least some of their losses. The CFPB can be credited for many of these gains.
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In case studies for our forthcoming book on the CFPB’s first five years, we were able to probe some of the factors that led to success compared with others that presented a challenge.
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Against extraordinary odds, the CFPB mounted a coherent and productive financial consumer protection project that pulled us back from the precipice of global financial ruin But its early achievements will continue to be put to the test as the Bureau matures, the original impulse for reform drifts further away as the recent crisis becomes a more distant memory, and political challenges mount.