Banking/Financial Institutions

New consumer protection bureau gets a Hollywood narrator

Fans of the canceled Fox sitcom “Arrested Development” might experience deja vu watching it, as the CFPB heavily referenced the show’s opening lines.

The cult sitcom, which ran for three seasons and detailed the trials and tribulations of the dysfunctional Bluth family, began every episode with the same refrain:

“Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together,” uttered Howard, who narrated the series.

An introductory video on the CFPB’s new website opens with a similar introduction:

“Now the story of a market that fell apart, and the new consumer agency that’s charged with putting it back together,” says Howard, before going on to detail the agency’s mission.

The CFPB, created as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, does not officially open until July, but is intended to help consumers with financial products.

In January, when the public schedule of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor charged with building the new agency, was released, one entry raised a few eyebrows. After meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Dec. 20, Warren spent 30 minutes on the phone with the director. Howard’s contribution to the website explains the call.

Howard has been a longtime advocate for a consumer protection bureau, and pushed for such an agency in a pair of Web videos he directed last year. In one, President Obama, played by “Saturday Night Live” cast member Fred Armisen, is visited by several former presidents, including Will Ferrell’s take on George W. Bush and Jim Carrey as Ronald Reagan, who tell him to push for a consumer protection bureau.

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