By PHILLIP LEE
FiSCA Chairman Joseph Coleman (pictured) gave Cheklist an overview of 2011 from the association’s perspective. In the first part of a two-part series, Coleman discusses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which launched on July 21, 2011.
Cheklist Magazine: Would it be fair to say that the CFPB was the main focus, or one of the top priorities, of FiSCA in 2011?
Joseph Coleman: Yes. CFPB is one of FiSCA’s top priorities at the moment. Clearly, the agency has the potential to significantly impact our industry and so the Association is working hard to establish a solid working relationship with key personnel there.
Has FiSCA had any contact with the CFPB since it has been up and running?
Yes. We initiated outreach this January and have had several productive meetings with senior staff there, including with Elizabeth Warren, Peggy Twohig and several others.
How surprised was FiSCA that Richard Cordray was named to lead the CFPB rather than Elizabeth Warren?
I don’t think “surprised” is the right word. The longer the president waited before naming his choice for director, the more speculation there was as to whom might be selected.
How familiar is FiSCA with Richard Cordray?
Individual members worked with Mr. Cordray in his previous role as attorney general for the State of Ohio. However, FiSCA has not had direct interactions with him to this point.
Does Cordray’s appointment change FiSCA’s approach at all?
No. We have been dealing with numerous officials at the bureau prior to his appointment and will continue to do so on a moving-
What is FiSCA’s feeling about CFPB so far? What does FiSCA expect from the CFPB? Obviously, it is still early and the CFPB will focus on more pressing problems, but are there any inklings about the alternative financial services industry?
With regard to our view toward the bureau, quite simply it’s a fact of life, and we are dealing with it accordingly. At this point, it is too early to say what the bureau’s initial priorities will be. As you know, the conventional wisdom is that the bureau cannot start promulgating new regulations regarding the non-depository industry until a director is named and confirmed. Given that the Senate has indicated it will refuse to confirm any director until other policy issues related to CFPB are addressed, it may be some time before the bureau has that power to create new regulations for our industry. However, they already have the authority to enforce various existing consumer financial protection regulations transferred to them by other agencies through provisions in the Dodd-Frank act.
>> Editor’s Note: The second half of this interview will be published in the Fall issue of Cheklist.