Eighteen former members of the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) strongly endorsed the idea of an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency in a letter released last week . Draft legislation released yesterday by Sen. Chris Dodd would instead place the CFPA in the Fed, an idea that the former CAC members specifically rejected.
The letter says that “The Federal Reserve has its hands full with responsibilities relating to safety and soundness and monetary policy.” It singles the Fed out for special criticism in its handling of consumer issues under both Democratic and Republican administrations: “In 1994 Congress gave the Federal Reserve the power to outlaw unfair and deceptive practices in the mortgage market. The Federal Reserve waited until 2008 to issue their rule, long after the problem had become a crisis and after the market had collapsed. During that time, we and other consumer protection experts issued reams of comment and testimony calling on them to exercise their authority to protect consumers.”
The full text of the letter is below: