Opinion | Biden set to pick Mark Green to lead CFPB
But after being castrated for four years under President Trump and his lackeys, the office is now ill-equipped to fully protect Americans from financial abuse. As one of his first acts, President-elect Joe Biden is expected to rebuild the agency the outgoing administration demolished – and, as he might put it, rebuild it better. A good way to start is to name a true progressive with consumer regulatory chops like Mark J. Green, who was exactly that during his time as New York City’s Consumer Affairs Commissioner, and then his public lawyer.
The roots of CFPB bear witness to the promise and power vested in the agency. From a 2007 article written by Elizabeth Warren, then a professor at Harvard, the office has come true with the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Act in 2010. During the Obama administration, the CFPB returned nearly $ 12 billion in the pockets of nearly 30 million Americans, helping them come out of the depths of the 2008 recession.
Incoming Biden administration has the opportunity to restore the CFPB to its rightful place, as the New York Times once called it “Perhaps Washington’s most feared financial regulator” – and in doing so, get a powerful weapon in the struggle to survive this economical downtown. The agency can start with revive the regulatory policies of the Obama era, such as the restoration of fair lending surveys based on “disparate impact,” which gives the agency the power to investigate whether there are disparities in lending practices.
The new White House can also go further by pursuing aggressive actions against the predatory practices of payday lenders and creating a public credit bureau. “The CFPB has so many tools that it does not currently use,” said Linda Jun, senior policy adviser at Americans for Financial Reform. Noted. “If you put in the right leadership, there is a lot that can be reversed.”
Which brings us back to Green, who began his career as a protégé of consumer advocate Ralph Nader and spent decades as a leader in consumer advocacy. (Disclosure: I’ve known Green for many years, and he has written for Nation magazine, of which I am the editor.) As New York’s Consumer Commissioner, Green has increased both citations for application and refund amounts for consumers. Equally important, he has shown skill in harnessing pressure from the national media to push through reforms, especially those that benefit children, people of color and women. His work was instrumental in ban Joe Camel, New York City Police Department’s exposure of racial profiling (angering then-mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani) and protecting women in the marketplace and in the workplace with new laws regarding price discrimination, workplace discrimination and abortion drugs.
Over the past few weeks, Biden has faced countless decisions about staffing his administration, largely opting for well-respected moderate Democrats with experience in previous administrations. As Director of CFPB, Green is said to be a highly regarded progressive advocate who combines regulatory experience with a proven talent for using a public megaphone on behalf of consumers. Indeed, from Green help pushing for a consumer protection agency in the 1970s would be poetic justice if he were chosen to head the only new federal consumer agency created in the past half century.
Green’s appointment may both turn the page on the Trump administration’s deadly inaction and be politically sensitive to those in Biden’s coalition looking for someone with his biography and unchallenged liberal talents. Or can only Republicans nominate ardent champions of their cause after winning the presidency? To quote Mulvaney, “elections have consequences”.