The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been a flashpoint in partisan politics and a focus of Wall Street’s ire since its inception a decade ago. Now the watchdog, which was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to protect Americans from fraud and other abuses, has a new target: Big Tech.
Less than two months into his tenure as CFPB director, Rohit Chopra, who was formerly with the Federal Trade Commission, is laying the groundwork for greater scrutiny of Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Google parent Alphabet, and other technology giants. The industry has been moving into consumer payments and other businesses traditionally dominated by banks and other financial-services companies.
Politically, Chopra is making a safe bet. Big Tech is a popular villain in Washington among Democrats and Republicans alike. And his record of taking on big business in antitrust fights at the FTC makes him a viable threat to Silicon Valley’s finance ambitions. At the CFPB, Chopra has significant authority to pursue lawsuits and write new rules. “We cannot have a two-tier system where financial institutions have to play by the rules, [and] where Facebook and other tech companies using mysterious black-box algorithms get to skate off with no accountability,” Chopra said on Oct. 28 in his first testimony as CFPB director before the Senate Banking Committee.
The CFPB was sidelined by the Trump administration. For a while it was essentially led part time by Mick Mulvaney, who was also the White House budget director and a longtime critic of the agency. Enforcement actions were scaled back. Now progressive Democrats and consumer advocates are looking to Chopra—a protégé of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who helped conceive the agency—to make the regulator relevant again.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Fed's Mind Control
The idea that monetary policy shapes inflation expectations is about to get road-tested
With spectacular beaches, top-tier resorts, and a stellar Covid record, Anguilla is growing even more irresistible.
Same City - Different Games
What’s changed since Beijing last held the Olympics? Almost everything
Keeping Covid Out of The Cabin
As the pandemic enters Year 3, airlines are stepping up their hygiene routines
Boxed In on China
Biden’s inability to extract concessions from Beijing is a liability going into November’s midterms
Revisit Your Retirement Strategy
High valuations, rising interest rates, and spiking inflation make it time for a checkup
Ponzi schemer On the Pacific
Gina Champion-Cain was a beloved friend, mentor, and pillar of the San Diego business community. But her successful image and lavish lifestyle were fueled by a $400 million fraud
How Did Blake Hall Get Between You And Your Identity?
During the pandemic his online-authentication company, ID.me, became the government’s digital gatekeeper. And its grip is only getting tighter
Biden's Year 2 Test
As the pandemic wears on and prices rise, many Americans are disillusioned with the president. Can he win them back?
A FIGHT OVER DISCRIMINATION IN THE AGE OF ALGORITHMS
Redfin has staked its reputation on making a racist industry more equitable. Critics say it’s been denying services to Black homebuyers and sellers
AMAZON PLANS A CLOTHING STORE FOR A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MALL
Amazon says it plans to open a clothing store in a Southern California mall later this year, a first for the online behemoth and a fresh challenge for already struggling traditional retailers.
2ND ELECTION FOR AMAZON WORKERS IN ALABAMA WILL BE BY MAIL
A federal labor board said that Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, will vote by mail next month in a re-run election to decide whether or not to unionize.
AMAZON PLANS TO OPEN NEW CENTRAL INDIANA WAREHOUSE THIS YEAR
Mayor Steve Barnett said the exact number of expected jobs has not yet been shared with the city, the Daily Journal reported. City officials said the warehouse will receive inventory and workers will sort and ship orders.
JUDGE SAYS FTC'S ANTITRUST CASE AGAINST FACEBOOK CAN PROCEED
A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s revised antitrust suit against Meta, formerly known as Facebook, can proceed, shutting down the social media company’s request for a dismissal.
CREATE A WILDLIFE Oasis
10 easy ways to make your yard a better place for birds, bees, butterflies and more.
ANDROID ON PC SHOWDOWN: WINDOWS 11 VS. CHROMEBOOKS
WHICH PLATFORM OFFERS A BETTER EXPERIENCE FOR ANDROID APPS?
Amazon Halo View: Low Price, Big Gains
A budget-friendly Fitbit alternative
MUSIC: CLIMBING THE CHARTS TO BECOME NUMBER ONE
BANKS SLOWLY RECONSIDER OVERDRAFT FEES, AMID PUBLIC PRESSURE
The banking industry appears to have overdone it on overdraft fees.
SURVIVAL SCHOOL INSIDER
RANDALL'S ADVENTURE & TRAINING OFFERS HARDCORE LESSONS FOR ULTIMATE CHALLENGES.