FIVE KEY QUESTIONS That Congress Left to the New Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
1. Is the Bureau’s rulemaking authority as broad as it seems?
YES. The Bureau’s Director “may prescribe rules and issue orders or guidance, as may be necessary or appropriate to enable the Bureau to administer and carry out the purposes and objectives of the Federal consumer financial laws, and to prevent evasions thereof.” Simply put, the Bureau’s principal mission is to ensure “that all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services and that those markets for financial consumer markets and services are fair, transparent, and competitive.” This broad mandate means that virtually any consumer financial product or service, or any person offering such product or service, is likely to come under scrutiny and, potentially, regulation, even if the legislation does not explicitly provide for it. This includes an array of products and services offered by banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, pawn brokers and other lenders. The Bureau will have the authority to adopt rules defining the types of financial consumer products, services and entities it will regulate and which ones will be exempted.