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With Trump, will predatory loan practices increase?

As we bid farewell to outgoing President Obama and his often consumer-friendly policies and herald the new Trump administration, it's a good time to consider the changes President Trump may make to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As America's fledgling consumer protection agency, the CFPB was the idea of Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy expert who now is a senator. Designed to cover what banking regulatory agencies didn't, the CFPB had no conflict of serving both consumers and the banking industry the way the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency does.

The CFPB serves consumers who were not always fully protected by other agencies. It clamped down on the predatory loan practices of payday loan companies to the dismay of Republicans in Congress who have been itching to strip its power.

As recently as last week, the ever-mercurial Trump was indicating his administration might be willing to remove the bureau's current director and decrease some of the protections offered by the CFPB. A possible choice to oversee the agency is Randy Neugebauer, a Congressman from Texas and staunch Republican.

Neugebauer has said that the CFPB's attempts to impose regulations on the payday loan industry was "paternalistic erosion of consumer product choices."

Yet another Republican politician from Texas, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, vowed to pass legislation that foundered last year. In 2016, Hensarling proposed the Financial Choice Act in order to wipe out provisions of Dodd-Frank Financial reforms. If passed, the FCA would strip away the amendment limiting fees for transactions using debit cards.

Unfortunately for consumers struggling with debt, few if any of the proposals will likely be favorable to their situations. If you find yourself stuck in an untenable financial position due towering debt, you may decide now is a good time to check into filing for bankruptcy.

Source: MarketWatch, "Will a Trump presidency lead to more predatory lending?," Bob Sullivan, Jan. 18, 2017

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