Hensarling looking for feedback on CFPB

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is putting out a call for public feedback on the three-year-old Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying he wants to hold the “most powerful” government agency accountable.

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Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said Monday the committee is devoting a section of its website to the collection of information about how the bureau has affected business owners or consumers, as well as customers.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law established the CFPB to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices in the financial sector. This month, the agency imposed sweeping new mortgage regulations designed to rein in risky lending practices within the housing industry.

But congressional Republicans have assailed the agency as unaccountable, because its funding is allocated outside of the appropriations process and it is headed by a single director rather than a bipartisan panel of commissioners.

“There is certainly a role for government when it comes to consumer protection, but Washington’s role must be focused and Washington must be held accountable,” said Hensarling, who described the CFPB as “the most powerful and least accountable government agency in all of Washington.”

People who want to share their experiences with the CFPB have the option of doing so publicly or keeping their story confidential. The committee’s Republicans are also setting up a telephone hotline that consumers can call and leave a message.

“Since many citizens today justifiably fear reprisals when it comes to speaking their mind about Washington agencies — just witness the IRS scandal — they can tell us if they don’t want their story shared with anyone else,” Hensarling said.