Thank you for the introduction and good afternoon everyone. I’m excited to attend this virtual fireside chat, and really appreciate the mission of AREAA providing a national voice to Asian American communities by reducing barriers to homeownership. The Bureau and I share your goals to bring true inclusivity and opportunity to all AAPI families, especially as it relates to housing security.
I want to talk briefly about what the CFPB is doing to address a multitude of crises brought on by the ongoing pandemic has brought on. As I said to Bureau staff during my first day as Acting Director, I’m not here to be a steward. The challenges facing our country are simply too urgent.
As long as I’m in this role, I’ll be using every tool at the Bureau’s disposal to address the nation’s economic and housing security crisis.
I have established two main priorities for the Bureau: seeking relief for consumers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and addressing racial inequities in the financial services industry. In the 3 months that I’ve led the CFPB, we have taken several measures to help address these core issues.
We rescinded policy statements made by the previous administration and made clear that we would employ the full scope of the Bureau’s supervisory and enforcement authority provided under the Dodd-Frank Act.
We introduced a new rule requiring debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the CDC eviction moratorium, which will help address the tens of thousands of evictions that are still happening every week.
We proposed new rules that would ensure millions of struggling homeowners have the opportunity to be evaluated for loss mitigation options before foreclosure, when the emergency federal foreclosure protections expire later this year.
And earlier this week we delayed the compliance date for the final Qualified Mortgage rule, to avoid any disruption to the housing market during this critical time.
We have lots more work to do, and the Bureau will continue monitoring the current environment and react swiftly and appropriately to changing market conditions.
This country is in the middle of a long-overdue conversation about race, and practices and policies of the financial services industry have both caused and exacerbated racial inequality. At the CFPB, I have elevated and expanded existing investigations and exams, and added new ones, to ensure we have a healthy docket intended to address racial equity. This of course means that fair lending enforcement is a top priority and will be emphasized accordingly. But we will also look more broadly, beyond fair lending, to identify and root out unlawful conduct that disproportionately impacts communities of color and other vulnerable populations.
I want to conclude by sharing my thoughts about recent events that have affected me deeply. In March, I shared a message on LinkedIn and Twitter expressing my outrage about recent violence and racism targeting AAPI people. Only one day later, the massacre in Atlanta left eight people murdered, including six AAPI women. Since that event just one month ago, we have seen a renewed epidemic of mass shootings, as well as ever more killings of people of color by police that have left me numb and heartbroken.
It doesn’t take much looking to see that latent, structural racism in the criminal justice system has had a profound and negative effect on communities of color. By centering the CFPB’s focus on racial equity, it is my sincere hope that even at times like this, we can act to make a dent in the pernicious effects of racial injustice in our consumer finance space. Racial inequity has been the work of centuries, and racial justice will be the work of generations.
I will turn it over to Jim and look forward to answering some questions. Thank you.