Extending the Consumer Safety Net: How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Can Use Its Authority to Protect Vulnerable Consumers

Graham Steele • July 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this report, author Graham Steele, argues that the unfinished business of the CFPB is creating a more robust consumer safety net. Steele proposes three critical reforms the CFPB could make using its existing legal authority. This new consumer safety net would guarantee consumers the right to: receive automatic forbearance for loans being serviced collected, or reported to credit companies during significant life events; hire or fire any third-party servicer, collector, or credit reporting company; and repurchase and settle their own debts before they are sold, on the same terms that are available to financial companies. Given the economic distress of our current moment, the CFPB should aggressively use its legal mandate to create a permanent safety net that protects vulnerable consumers during financial shocks.