In December of 2017, Consumers’ Research Executive Director Kyle Burgess wrote an op-ed calling for the depoliticization of consumer finance, namely the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Below is an except from that op-ed, which highlights what Consumers’ Research believes is the best path toward achieving that aim, followed by a brief history of past efforts to incorporate data and evidence into policy making.
Although achieving accountability and transparency in a large bureaucratic entity won’t happen overnight, evidence-based policymaking is immediately actionable. A good first step is to establish a presidential commission to study the structure and state of consumer finance in the U.S. — something neither Congress, nor the President has done in nearly 50 years.
In 1970, when the Presidential Commission on Consumer Financial Structure received its charge, total consumer credit outstanding stood at $128 billion. The current Federal Reserve estimate for total outstanding consumer credit is $3.788 trillion. Only 16 percent of Americans had credit cards in 1970, compared to over 70 percent today. Until 1974, credit card issuers could also deny approval to women who did not have a male cosigner. Undoubtedly, what determines consumer credit needs and risks has changed over the years along with financial industry risk factors and regulations…
By establishing another Presidential Commission on Consumer Financial Structure and Regulation, the president could bring together academics, industry experts, and consumer advocates from across the political spectrum to examine thoroughly the structure and state of consumer finance in the United States and make recommendations about what 21st-century financial reform should look like.”
Read the full op-ed at Real Clear Policy.
Read mobile-friendly history of the consumer finance commissions here.