January 09, 2014

There were no surprises or revelations in The Daily Show host Jon Stewart's interview last night with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray. Stewart (who observed that The Daily Show Audience cheered as enthusiastically for Cordray as it did for a reference to the legalization of marijuana sales in Colorado) complained about a lack of accountability among large banks, and Cordray extolled the work the CFPB is doing "to see that people are treated fairly in the marketplace," calling the bureau's efforts to improve lending processes as "back to basics stuff."

[Are consumers regaining faith in lenders? How Will Banks Ride Out the Latest Mortgage Industry Cycle?]

It appeared that Cordray was taking pains to emphasize that the CFPB does not view smaller financial institutions as the guilty parties regarding the mortgage crisis, and suggested that the bureau actually is working to make things easier for these organizations. According to Cordray, "We're taking mortgage lending back to what community banks and credit unions have done for decades," adding, "We're trying to tier our regulations to treat smaller community banks and credit unions differently ... they didn't cause the problems" that led to the mortgage meltdown.

Cordray did suggest that any financial institution that is complaining about the costs of compliance with simpler and more transparent processes has only itself to blame for this situation. "They should have been spending money to bring [their processes] up to snuff," he told Stewart. He also declared that the type of regulation the CFPB is enforcing "is not anti-free market -- it's fairness."

You can view the interview (which includes an extended "part 2" with more discussion about the pros and cons of financial regulation) here:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & ...