Reality Check: Meet the GOP-Assembled, Big Bank-Backed Panel for Today’s Hearing Attacking the CFPB (Again)

Today’s Hearing Attacking the CFPB is in Desperate Need of a Reality Check

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hear testimony from four witnesses expected to bash the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The quartet are expected to zero in on the important CFPB’s consumer complaint database,which helps the bureau identify bad financial actors and resolve issues for consumers. As chair of the subcommittee, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has assembled a who’s who of CFPB opponents that represent some of the country’s most powerful special interests. Here’s what you need to know about these witnesses:

Steven G. Day, President, American Land Title Association

  • The American Land Title Association has previously endorsed an effort to turn the CFPB into a commission. In 2018, the ATLA joined 22 other financial industry groups to support H.R. 5266, a bill that would change “the leadership structure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from a sole director to a commission.” [Alta Supports Bill to Create CFPB Commission, American Land Title Association, 04/17/18]

Richard Hunt, President and CEO, Consumer Bankers Association

  • As head of the Consumer Bankers Association, Richard Hunt is in the pocket of some of the biggest banks in the country.Richard Hunt has been President and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association since 2009. Twenty-three of his member institutions hold $100 billion or more in assets, including Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, U.S. Bancorp, Capital One, PNC, TD Bank, and many others. [Richard Hunt, Consumer Bankers Association, Accessed 06/05/18; Corporate Membership List, Consumer Bankers Association, Accessed 06/05/18]

Kate (Larson) Prochaska, Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  • Kate Prochaska has spent her entire career working on behalf of large corporations and financial institutions, many of whom are regulated by the CFPB. Kate Prochaska has previously worked for the US Chamber, the Consumer Bankers Association and DC “lobbying powerhouse” Williams & Jensen, PLLC. She also serves on the board of the industry backed organization Women in Housing & Finance. [LinkedIn Profile for Kate Prochaska, accessed 06/05/18 and “WHF 2017-2018 Board of Directors,” WHFDC.org; Catherine Ho, “Williams & Jensen lobbyists leave to start own firm,The Washington Post, 04/16/14]
  • In the past, Kate Prochaska has strongly criticized the CFPB’s complaint database. In 2015, Kate Prochaska (née Larson) wrote a letter to the CFPB on behalf of the Consumer Bankers Association in which she critiqued the Consumer Complaint Database, arguing that “consumer sentiment would [not] provide valuable insight” and that tracking companies’ responsiveness to complaints “would not be useful.” [“Consumer Bankers Association Response to CFPB-2015-0013,” Regulations.gov, 05/26/15]

Elmer K. Whitaker, CEO, Whitaker Bank Corporation of Kentucky

  • Elmer K. Whitaker heads a bank which has had enforcement actions brought against it by two separate federal regulators.Whitaker Bank has been fined over $8000 by the Federal Reserve for violating the National Flood Insurance Act, and the bank has had at least six separate enforcement actions brought against it by the Comptroller of the Currency. [Rachel Witkowski, “Fed Takes Action Against Five Banks,” American Banker, 09/01/11 and “OCC Enforcement Search for Whitaker Bank”, 06/05/18]
  • Just last year, Elmer K. Whitaker gave $2,700 to subcommittee member, and anti-CFPB Representative, Andy Barr.In May 2017, Andy Barr introduced a bill to subject the CFPB to Congressional Appropriations. One month later, Elmer K. Whitaker contributed $2,700 to Barr’s re-election campaign. [“Q2 Report – Andy Barr for Congress,” Federal Election Commission, 09/07/17 and Press Release, “Rep. Barr Reintroduces the TABS Act,” 05/19/17]

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