On Jul 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("Bureau" or "CFPB") stood up and gazed over a fragmented and ineffective regulatory landscape. Originally proposed only in 2007, the Bureau was ushered into the US Code via Title X of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with remarkable speed in response to a remarkable crisis. What Congress's desire to protect consumers lacked in novelty was more than made up for by the unique and necessary powers granted to the Bureau to secure the dangerous wilderness of the consumer credit market. The crux of Congress's power grant lies in Section 1031. This note first contextualizes the need for Section 1031 by examining the roots and shortcomings of existing consumer protection law embodied in unfairness, deception, and unconscionability doctrines. Part II chronicles the enactment of Section 1031. Part III applies the enacted definition of "abusive" to several widespread practices in the consumer credit market, and urges the CFPB to adopt a broad interpretation of the term as consistent with Congress's longstanding intent to protect consumers.
ABUSIVE: DODD-FRANK SECTION 1031 AND THE CONTINUING STRUGGLE TO PROTECT CONSUMERS CAREY ALEXANDER† INTRODUCTION On July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Bureau” or “CFPB”) stood up and gazed over a fragmented and ineffective regulatory landscape.1 Armed with the power to stamp out abusive practices, the CFPB represents Congress’s latest and most potent stab in its century-long struggle to protect consumers.2 Originally proposed only in 2007,3 the Bureau was ushered into the United States Code via Title X of the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act4 (“Dodd- Frank”) with remarkable speed in response to a remarkable crisis.5 † Associate Managing Editor, St. John’s Law Review; J.D. Candidate, 2012, St. John’s University School of Law; B.A., 2004, Skidmore College. My endless thanks to Professor Jeff Sovern for being the epitome of a great advisor: generous with his ideas, accomodating with his time, and supportive throughout. 1 See Designated
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