Date succeeded Elizabeth Warren as CFPB overseer when she returned to Massachusetts this summer. He is charged with getting the bureau up and running while Richard Cordray, the president's nominee to be its first director, awaits Senate confirmation.
The bureau was handed a broad mandate by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that created it, as it can crack down on any "unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices."
But instead of banning Bank of America's new fee or any other new tactic of the financial services industry, the CFPB for the time being has focused its efforts on disclosure and transparency. By making the costs of various financial products easy to understand at the outset, consumers can shop around and make an educated choice, which in turn can apply its own pressure on banks.
"Making the costs transparent is good for consumers and good for competition," said Date. "It allows consumers to compare the checking account options from large banks, community banks, and credit unions and pick the one that works best for them."
Meanwhile, consumer groups were gearing up for the latest round over Cordray's nomination. On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to vote on the pick. However, even if the former Ohio attorney general is cleared by the Democrat-controlled panel, he faces an uphill battle in the full Senate. Republicans have vowed to block any nominee to be CFPB director unless several changes are made to its structure.
But at least for now, consumer groups are showing no willingness to haggle.
"They don’t really want to compromise, they want to kill the CFPB," said Ed Mierzwinski, director of the consumer program for the left-leaning U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "We’re not ready to compromise. We don’t think there’s a need to compromise."