Brief backs motion filed by Chamber of Commerce and banking groups over agency attempts to police discrimination.
Contending that the CFPB has sought “to appoint itself a sort of anti-discrimination czar for the financial services sector,” Republican state attorneys general are asking a federal judge to rule that the agency’s effort to police discrimination is illegal.
The “CFPB’s revision of ‘unfair practices’ to include all instances of discrimination in the consumer finance industry effectively rewrites the Dodd-Frank Act to encompass many practices that Congress could have, but chose not to, regulate,” the state officials wrote in a brief filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several banking associations filed suit earlier this year challenging the CFPB’s decision to police discrimination as part of its power to probe Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices.
The Chamber, which also earlier this year announced a concerted campaign against the strict enforcement regime of Director Rohit Chopra, recently filed a motion for a summary judgement in the case.
The state attorneys general have filed their brief in support of that motion.
The attorneys general argued that the CFPB announced the new policy in an update of its examination manual and did not open the new policy to public comment. They added that the Biden Administration has sought to make major changes to other rules in similar ways.
“These tactics have been repeatedly rejected by other courts and they should be rejected here as well,” they wrote.
The attorneys general filing the brief represent the states of Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
What Comes Next?
The CFPB’s plan to police discrimination is likely to be addressed on Capitol Hill this week, as Chopra testifies on his agency’s semi-annual report. On Wednesday, the director is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee; on Thursday he appears before the Senate Banking Committee.
The House committee hearing is likely to be particularly noteworthy because it will be Chopra’s first congressional testimony since the mid-term election, which will give Republicans control of the Financial Services Committee next year.
Incoming Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has made it clear he does not support Chopra’s strict regulatory policies.