I’ve been watching carefully the proposal, creation and building of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the 6-week-old federal watchdog agency that’s been tasked with consumer protection and has declared itself on a mission to "empower consumers to take more control over their economic lives."
The organization, which was conceived of and launched by Harvard law professor and longtime consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, has sketched out a vivid, aspirational vision of the future of consumer financial markets in America, painting a picture of:
A consumer finance market place in which:
- Customers can see prices and risks up front and where they can easily make product comparisons;
- No one can build a business model around unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices; and
- The interests of American consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole are served.
Though this vision is inarguably desirable, the agency, though brand new, is not without its detractors. Some say that the agency has been given excessive power, and has an anti-bank bent. Others feel the bureau’s $329 million dollar annual budget should have been directed to bailing out consumers.