Rohit Chopra is the consumer champion we need to head the Consumer Bureau

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Aaron Colonnese
Content Creator

Author: Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Brown University

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.

We had a chance to put a consumer champion in charge of the federal agency that's returned more than $12 billion to Americans since 2011 — and we're thrilled to say our leaders took it.

In the spring of 2021, the Biden administration put forward Rohit Chopra as its nominee for head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It took the Senate over six months to confirm him, but better late than never — Chopra is a perfect fit for the role, and he'll help restore the Bureau's mission of protecting consumers in the marketplace after years of disastrous leadership under the Trump administration.

What is the Consumer Bureau?

PIRG helped create the Consumer Bureau in the wake of the Great Recession to help level the playing field for consumers in the financial marketplace and guard against the kind of reckless industry behavior that precipitated the 2008 financial crash.

And it worked: In just its first six years, the agency returned $12 billion to more than 31 million consumers wronged by companies that broke the law.

Who is Rohit Chopra?

Chopra was an early hire by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to help set up the Consumer Bureau from the start. He served as its first student loan ombudsman and has most recently been a Federal Trade Commissioner.

In other words, Chopra has the ideal background for hitting the ground running at the Consumer Bureau and getting the agency back to its mission of protecting consumers.

What needs to happen to get the Consumer Bureau back on track?

Under the former Trump appointees, the Consumer Bureau's mission was turned on its head. Its leaders were focused on rolling back rules that keep Wall Street in check — the same rules the Consumer Bureau itself created after the Great Recession.

One example: The Trump administration's Consumer Bureau created a task force in 2019 that claimed to be geared toward consumer protection, but in reality was made up of members representing the interests of the financial industry. The special interest influence in the task force was so egregious that our national partner U.S. PIRG even filed a lawsuit to stop its unlawful operation.

The good news: Rohit Chopra has a proven track record of using all policy levers available to protect consumers from corporate wrongdoers. So as director of the Consumer Bureau, he'll be able to not only reverse the damage done to the agency by the Trump administration but also make further progress to level the financial playing field.

You could call Rohit Chopra the "consumer’s champion." We’re excited to call him "director."

Next, we look forward to the Senate confirming both former CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio as an assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and appointing digital rights expert Alvaro Bedoya as an FTC commissioner to replace Chopra.

Photo: As an FTC commissioner, Rohit Chopra gave testimony in 2018 on the challenges consumers face regarding data privacy in the digital age — and the steps the FTC can take when it finds a company has violated its customers' privacy. Credit: U.S. House of Representatives

Aaron Colonnese
Content Creator

Author: Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Brown University

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.