CFPB Prepared Remarks at US Conference of Mayors
On January 22, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released Prepared Remarks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Prepared Remarks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Thank you for inviting me to come speak with you once again. When I was here in 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had just opened its doors. Today, I come to you after more than two years of concrete accomplishments. We have helped solve tens of thousands of individual consumer problems. We are returning over three billion dollars to consumers so far, and we have gone after those who try to take advantage of them. And we have put in place new rules that bring historic changes to make the multi-trillion dollar mortgage market work better for consumers and help see to it that the terrible collapse we went through just five years ago will never happen again.
Building a consumer financial marketplace that is more effective and more sustainable is the central priority of this new agency. We received this mandate from Congress in response to the dire situation that confronted Americans across the country after the housing collapse. Everyone who came to work at the new Consumer Bureau chose to take on this mandate with great passion and determination. We recognize that we can only be successful if we work in close partnership with federal, state, and local officials. That is why I am here today. Together, we must make the consumer financial markets work again – not just for Wall Street investors but for everyday Americans.
The financial crisis showed us how irresponsible lending can assault the foundations of stable communities, with the damage taking many years to repair. Bad products can upend whole neighborhoods as well as individual households. You can tell me better than I can tell you how in the years following the crisis, vacant properties became not only eyesores but also magnets for drugs and crime. Even many people who had carefully steered clear of trouble learned that trouble could find them anyway – costing them their jobs, sometimes their homes, and usually a considerable portion of their household wealth. Residents saw their property values decline and parents worried about their children’s safety. As often seems to happen, cities bore the brunt of the damage and most of the bottom-line costs of problems created by others.
We have spent the last five years digging out from under all of that. Some cities and some regions have fared better than others. As you know, the state of America’s cities varies greatly. Some are on the fast track to recovery with jobs being created, housing values on the rise, and confidence returning. Others are still feeling the sluggishness of shaking off a tough economy.
My colleagues and I at the Consumer Bureau appreciate the outstanding role that mayors play in the building of America. We applaud you on the many ways you do that, including your efforts through the DollarWise campaign. This campaign promotes financial education and supports summer youth employment through innovations and enhancements to existing programs.
Municipal officials across the nation make strenuous efforts to help their people. But we need to recognize that many consumer problems may transcend the boundaries of your local jurisdiction. There is only so much you can do when it comes to saving someone’s home or protecting people against financial predators. So that is where the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes in. One of our key tools for helping Americans across the country has been our Consumer Response function. Let me take a few minutes to describe this for you, because it is a tool that can benefit every one of you and all of your constituents.
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