The newly confirmed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau testified for more than four hours Wednesday in his first appearance before Congress since he was sworn in Oct. 13. Chopra, who served as the agency’s first student loan ombudsman during the Obama administration, made clear he intends to reinvigorate the bureau’s enforcement activity, particularly for large financial firms, and take a closer look at Big Tech, a move underscored last week by his letter to Silicon Valley firms seeking more details on their use of consumer data.
Some of the key takeaways from our colleague Katy O’Donnell:
—The Chopra CFPB will target big fish: He said enforcement resources should be focused on the largest firms causing nationwide harm. “One of the things that bothers me so much is when small players break the law, they get shut down,” Chopra said, “and when the large players repeatedly break the law, it feels like nothing happens.”
—He’s really worried about Big Tech: Asked what prompted his letter last week to firms like Apple, Facebook and Amazon, Chopra said he’s especially concerned about Big Tech taking more control of the U.S. dollar and global flow of payments. “The orders that we have issued cover a number of topics, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to use that information to report to you all, because I think safeguarding our nation’s payment system is so critical to our economy,” he told lawmakers.
—He’s not hot on a government-backed credit bureau: Chopra said he hasn’t given much thought at all to President Joe Biden’s campaign proposal to create a government-run reporting agency to compete with the three dominant credit reporting firms. “I don’t know how mechanically it would work,” he said. “That would be an enormous undertaking.”…
The Justice Department announced a series of policy changes Thursday aimed at toughening the federal response to white-collar crime, particularly offenses involving corporate misconduct.
Speaking to lawyers who often defend individuals and companies against such charges, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the new approach would do more to deter crime in the nation’s boardrooms and executive suites.
“Corporate culture matters. A corporate culture that fails to hold individuals accountable, or fails to invest in compliance — or worse, that thumbs its nose at compliance — leads to bad results,” Monaco said in virtual remarks to an American Bar Association conference on white-collar crime in Miami. “Although we understand the costs that enforcement actions can place on shareholders and others, our responsibility is to incentivize responsible corporate citizenship, a culture of compliance and a sense of accountability. So, the Department will not hesitate to take action when necessary to combat corporate wrongdoing.”