Prepared Remarks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray at National Community Reinvestment Coalition…
March 30, 2017 / Source: CFPB
Thank you. With this award, as with all others, I am willing temporarily to accept it into my hands only to convey it to my hard-working, dedicated colleagues at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who alone truly deserve it. They protect and support American consumers every single day, and no recognition is sufficient to reflect their care, thoughtfulness, and passion for the work they do. Indeed, we cheerfully aspire to the same goals of inclusion and access so effectively promoted by Congressman Gonzalez, for whom this award is named. In 1962, the first bill he shepherded through the House of Representatives was to abolish the poll tax, which prevented so many citizens from voting and finally was nullified in the Constitution itself. In 1957, he waged the longest filibuster in Texas Senate history against legislation that was designed to derail desegregation. Throughout his long career, he fought with persistent courage to ensure opportunities for all, including the most vulnerable among us.
In that spirit, the NCRC itself has raised public awareness about the need for fairness, honesty, and a level playing field in banking, housing, and economic development. Your leadership improves the everyday lives of millions, which bolsters the nation’s economic health. And the Consumer Bureau has benefited from its strong working relationship with you on issues ranging from access to credit to consumer financial protection. So now we say thank you! Thank you for serving America’s consumers, especially those with low incomes and those in communities of color, for more than a quarter-century and for many years to come. We are delighted to be your newest allies in the worthwhile struggle for economic progress and economic justice.
As many of you know, the Consumer Bureau polices financial products and financial practices. We have oversight over the largest depository institutions and over other companies that provide financial services. In some markets, such as payday lending, mortgage origination, and mortgage servicing, we oversee all or almost all of the marketplace. Since we opened our doors, our actions have resulted in almost $12 billion in restitution, cancelled debts, and other relief to 29 million consumers. And we have meted out over $600 million in civil penalties – including $100 million against Wells Fargo for opening millions of accounts without the approval or even the knowledge of their customers, in order to meet their own sales targets.
Like you – like all of us, really – the Consumer Bureau wants more consumers to have the chance to merge into the mainstream of American financial life. We aim to do what we can to help them minimize the risks and maximize the benefits. We are working to end discrimination in mortgage lending, help make sure that safe and reliable financial products are more readily available, and expand access to credit for those who are currently shut out. This evening, I would like to touch on some of the ways we are helping make this happen.