Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told about 1,100 bankers gathered in Nashville earlier this week that the CFPB exists to help them, as well as consumers. Speaking at the annual convention of the Independent Community Bankers of America on March 14, Cordray said the Bureau is working to level the competitive playing field in financial services.
“One of our bedrock beliefs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – and I have heard it echoed by community bankers across the country – is that honest businesses will benefit when those that cheat their customers are held accountable,” Cordray said in a morning speech. “We want all financial institutions, all of your competitors, to have the same kind of accountability that community banks face every day. And we want to protect you from the pressures that an unregulated market can put on you to adopt practices that make profits by hiding costs and risks to consumers.”
Cordray said it was a mistake to apply regulatory supervision over one part of the financial services industry, while ignoring other parts of it. “How could that ever be expected to work?” Cordray asked. “It most certainly did not. Bad practices drove out the good. Your banks were literally robbed market share; and the whole stinking mess eventually collapsed, dragging down many innocent people along with it. I firmly believe that had the Consumer Bureau been in place ten years ago, the crisis would have been headed off before it metastasized.
“So one of our major objectives is to help level the playing field for you and your non-bank competitors,” he said.
“We understand that community banks did not cause the financial crisis…so as we work to clean up the mess that the crisis created, we must be mindful of the fact that community banks were among those most harmed by the mortgage frenzy, the ensuring credit crunch, and the deep recession that cratered our local economies,” he said.
“Our fundamental purpose at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to protect consumers in the financial marketplace, but by the same token, our job is to protect all those who serve consumers well in the financial marketplace. You are the ones who do that best.”
Read the entire speech at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/speeches/prepared-remarks-by-richard-cordray-at-the-icba-national-convention/