This column is the fifth in a series of articles on the coming of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the direction it is likely to take in the regulation of consumer financial products and services.
The bureau has a lot of regulatory power at its disposal. It has already issued its first regulation, and many, many more are expected, indeed, mandated by a variety of provisions of Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act. One of the bureau’s statutory purposes is to enforce the federal consumer financial laws, but can the bureau really enforce? What kind of enforcement power does the bureau have? In short, and as is detailed below, the bureau’s regulatory bark is backed up by its considerable statutory enforcement bite, which includes the invasive power to investigate and the persuasive power to litigate. Oh, and we should not lose sight of the fact that the Act provides protection to whistle-blowers.