With all eyes on the CFPB and its future fate, it’s easy to overlook the FTC’s activities in the consumer finance world. But that would be a mistake. The FTC, led by the Division of Financial Practices, continues to share enforcement jurisdiction with the CFPB over many industries touching consumer finance, including credit reporting, debt collection, and consumer lending; the major difference between the jurisdiction of the FTC and CFPB is that the FTC does not have authority over financial institutions regulated by federal banking regulators.
Importantly, as an independent agency with a bipartisan commission, the FTC is more insulated from the political trade winds that executive agencies confront. And, whereas the CFPB—also an independent agency—is a young agency born out of and directly caught up in the hyper partisanship that defines Washington, the FTC has a 100+ year track record. If the CFPB’s authority is significantly curtailed, we can expect the FTC to step up to partially fill the void.