Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin has just written this 34-page article on the history, structure, powers, and politics of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Here is Levitin's introduction:
In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, Congress undertook a major overhaul of financial regulation, culminating in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act covers an incredibly wide range of financial regulatory issues, from systemic risk to debit card swipe fee regulation, but perhaps the most important and certainly most immediately tangible reform was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The CFPB is an independent bureau housed within the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”), itself an independent regulatory agency. The CFPB has a wide regulatory ambit with rulemaking, supervision, and enforcement authority over nearly all firms involved in consumer financial services, irrespective of their particular legal form. While there has been a great deal of journalistic coverage of the CFPB, there is no single overview work on this powerful new agency. This brief Article is meant to provide a brief legal and political overview of the CFPB, covering its history, structure, powers, and ongoing politics.