Richard Cordray resumed a familiar position Tuesday: defense.
In his semi-annual report to Congress, Cordray, the acting head of the government’s consumer watchdog agency, defended the bureau’s vast efforts to track how Americans shop for mortgages and use credit cards.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is buying anonymous data and requesting records from banks on more than 10 million Americans to gain greater insight into consumer behavior and the financial marketplace. The agency said it intends to use the information as the basis for all of its work, including writing rules, litigating enforcement actions and promoting financial literacy.
“It is important for us to have data so that we can analyze it and we’re not dependent on asking the financial institutions what they think,” Cordray told members of the Senate Banking Committee. The bureau, he said, has “an interest in understanding how financial products and services are affecting consumers.”
Republican senators, however, said they were alarmed by the invasiveness of the project and questioned the bureau’s motives.