April 12, 2011
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) on Monday moved toward the formation of a partnership between federal and state officials in the name of consumer protection.
The groups agreed on a Joint Statement of Principles, or a declaration that the two groups are on the same page, so to speak. Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the President and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, discussed the significance of the partnership, as the bureau begins its task of consolidating regulatory duties and enforcing policy.
"Because of that consolidation, there will now be an agency that is fully accountable for getting the job done," Warren said in prepared remarks. "And because we will be accountable, we plan to put in place a rigorous program of consumer compliance supervision coupled with strong enough enforcement to ensure compliance. Law enforcement will be foundational to our success."
The two groups' stated goals are to protect consumers from illegal products and services, set rules to improve the marketplace for both consumers and businesses and promote the understanding of financial services.
"People are hurt every day by unfair financial products," said Roy Cooper, North Carolina attorney general and president of the NAAG. "This agreement will put more cops on the beat to protect consumers and businesses that are doing the right thing."
The parties agreed to:
Develop joint training programs and share information about developments in federal consumer financial law and state consumer protection laws that apply to consumer financial products or servicesShare information, data, and analysis about conduct and practices in the markets for consumer financial products or services to inform enforcement policies and priorities
Engage in regular consultation to identify mutual enforcement priorities that will ensure effective and consistent enforcement of the laws that protect consumers of financial products or services
Support each other, to the fullest extent permitted by law as warranted by the circumstances, in the enforcement of the laws that protect consumers of financial products or services, including by joint or coordinated investigations of wrongdoing and coordinated enforcement actions
Pursue legal remedies to foster transparency, competition, and fairness in the markets for consumer financial products or services across state lines and without regard to corporate forms or charter choice for those providers who compete directly with one another in the same markets
Develop a consistent and enduring framework to share investigatory information and to coordinate enforcement activities to the extent practicable and consistent with governing law
Share, refer, and route complaints and consumer complaint information between the CFPB and the state attorneys general
Analyze and leverage the input they receive from consumers and the public in order to advance their mutual goal of protecting consumers of financial products or services
Create and support technologies to enable data sharing and procedures that will support complaint cooperation