Extending the Consumer Safety Net: How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Can Use Its Authority to Protect Vulnerable Consumers

July 1, 2020

The Great Democracy Initiative (GDI) was a project of the Roosevelt Institute from 2018–2020 that produced actionable policy blueprints for addressing the structural problems facing our nation.

In Extending the Consumer Safety Net, author Graham Steele proposes a new consumer safety net that can be created through the CFPB’s existing legal authority.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this report, author Graham Steele, argues that the unfinished business of the CFPB is creating a more robust consumer safety net. Steele proposes three critical reforms the CFPB could make its existing legal authority. This new consumer safety net would guarantee consumers the right to: receive automatic forbearance for loans being serviced collected, or reported to credit companies during significant life events; hire or fire any third-party servicer, collector, or credit reporting company; and repurchase and settle their own debts before they are sold, on the same terms that are available to financial companies. Given the economic distress of our current moment, the CFPB should  aggressively use its legal mandate to create a permanent safety net that protects vulnerable consumers during financial shocks like the one we are currently experiencing.