[L]ast year the agency backed off issuing a highly anticipated “ability-to-repay” mortgage rule at the urging of lenders to get more feedback. The final rule will be released this month and there are strong indications the CFPB will include some of the “qualified mortgage” legal protections banks have sought and consumer advocates oppose.It would seem there's nothing the CFPB could do, other than cease to exist, to convince Republicans that it doesn't want to destroy the financial industry. And while the agency's critics can't come up with any examples of actions it's taken to worry them, they still complain about "the structure of the agency and how much oversight lawmakers can flex because its budget is not approved by Congress and it is run by a director as opposed to a board like some regulators."
Also, after banks complained that a new money transfer rule was unworkable, the CFPB opened it back up for comment in December and said it would make suggested changes.
In April, the CFPB agreed to drop a lawsuit and scale back a proposal, originally issued by the Federal Reserve, to impose limits on credit card fees prior to opening an account — despite the strong objections of consumer advocates.
And when lawmakers complained that current regulations hurt stay-at-home spouses’ ability to secure credit, the agency in October released a proposal reversing a Fed rule that required issuers to consider the applicant’s independent income when making a credit decision.
Nonetheless, the political atmosphere remains tense and that is unlikely to change this year as Republicans continue to push for changes to how the CFPB is structured.
“At a time of prolonged economic strain, American consumers can ill-afford such an unaccountable, unresponsive, and all-powerful financial regulator,” reads a starkly negative report on the CFPB written by the Republican staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that was released Dec. 14.
In other words, just as with Obamacare repeal, the fight over the CFPB isn't going to be ending any time soon.