Each day this week, we will feature information about an important milestone in the establishment of the new consumer bureau. Today’s post is about our transfer date. Read more of this series.
Less than two months after President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced that the one-year anniversary of the law – July 21, 2011 – will serve as the “designated transfer date” for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is the date when consumer financial protection functions of seven federal agencies will transfer to the CFPB.
The financial crisis that nearly brought the economy to its knees was caused in part by massive failures in basic consumer protections. Instead of leaving consumer protection scattered among seven different agencies, none of which had the necessary authority and focus to protect American consumers, the new law provides for one agency that is accountable for enforcing consumer laws.
With the announcement of a transfer date, Secretary Geithner set an ambitious deadline to get the CFPB up and running. On that date, the CFPB will receive many of the authorities it will need to protect families from abusive consumer financial practices. The new consumer bureau will work to make sure consumers have the information they need to make sound financial decisions for themselves and their families and to make consumer credit markets work better for all Americans. This milestone signaled to the American people a clear timeframe for when there will be a cop on the beat patrolling the markets for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services.
Building a completely new consumer bureau from the ground-up is a tall order, and Secretary Geithner’s announcement meant that much work would need to be done in a relatively short period of time. But the CFPB’s arrival to the regulatory scene is long overdue, and its mission is ambitious – so it was fitting for the deadline to be ambitious as well.