Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday morning applauded as "terrific" President-elect Joe Biden's decision to nominate FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency that the Trump administration worked relentlessly to undermine and divert from its original mission of protecting ordinary people from corporate abuse.
"There are a lot of financiers who get incredibly rich taking advantage of lax 'regulators' of both parties in order to essentially defraud the American people. Those people are nervously conducting Zooms with high priced lawyers right now."
—Jeff Hauser, Revolving Door Project
Warren, a key architect of the CFPB in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, tweeted that Chopra has "been a fearless champion for consumers at the FTC and will be a fearless champion leading the consumer agency."
"I worked closely with Rohit Chopra to set up the CFPB and fight for America's students," said the Massachusetts Democrat. "It's terrific that President-elect Biden picked Rohit to run the CFPB."
Consumer advocacy groups echoed Warren, pointing to Chopra's record of challenging the monopoly power of corporate behemoths like Facebook during his time at the FTC. If confirmed by the Senate, Chopra would replace current CFPB chief Kathy Kraninger, who has drawn ire for pushing policies that favor payday lenders and other predatory institutions while ignoring the needs of consumers. Under the leadership of Kraninger and her predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, CFPB enforcement actions against corporations declined dramatically.
"Financial predators, watch out," Robert Weissman and Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen said in a statement Monday. "Rohit Chopra has proven himself a dedicated consumer champion and passionate defender of Main Street Americans against corporate wrongdoing. He will be an extraordinary director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."
The Trump administration made an absolute mockery of the CFPB. Rohit Chopra is a fantastic pick who will return the agency to its days of actually fighting for consumers. https://t.co/n5e0KyYIjl
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— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 18, 2021
Previously the CFPB's student loan watchdog, Chopra used his post to publicly call out corporations for their abusive practices and treatment of borrowers, frequently angering industry giants and trade groups like the Consumer Bankers Association, which represents private loan firms.
"In my job, every day I get calls, emails, letters from people who are drowning in debt," Chopra told the Wall Street Journal in 2014. "I hear the panic in their voices as they worry about their financial future. They aren't numbers on a spreadsheet. I want to help make things better for them."
Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project—a watchdog group that has closely examined and often been sharply critical of Biden's Cabinet picks—applauded the president-elect's nomination of Chopra to lead the CFPB and Gary Gensler to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"There are a lot of financiers who get incredibly rich taking advantage of lax 'regulators' of both parties in order to essentially defraud the American people," Hauser told CNN on Sunday. "Those people are nervously conducting Zooms with high-priced lawyers right now. Biden's financial regulatory regime right now is exactly what he needs to produce tangible, positive results for everyone who is not a slimy banker."