Biden picks Chopra, Gensler for monetary oversight roles | Joe Biden Information
Chopra has been named head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Gensler has been named chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
President-elect Joe Biden will appoint Rohit Chopra as director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and recruit a progressive ally of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to lead the agency she campaigned for.
Chopra, a commissioner for the Federal Trade Commission, helped launch the CFPB after the 2008 financial crisis and was assistant director where he raised the alarm about the skyrocketing student loan debt.
The choice falls as the Democrats look for ways to provide student loans to millions of Americans under a COVID-19 relief package.
Biden announced the move on Monday along with his intention to appoint Gary Gensler, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs banker, tightened control of the CFTC over the complex financial transactions that helped create the Great Recession.
Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has been elected chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission [J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]Biden’s election of Gensler as head of the SEC signals the goal of turning the Wall Street Watchdog agency into an activist role after a deregulatory phase during the Trump administration.
A professor of economics and management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Gensler was assistant treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and later headed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission during Barack Obama’s tenure.
Given that he had worked for Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs for nearly 20 years, Gensler surprised many by serving as a strict oversight agency for major banks as the CFTC chairman.
Gensler was fluent in the connection between politics and economic policy and was CFO of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign against Donald Trump and economic advisor to Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential election.
Gensler was the leader and advisor to the Biden transition team, which was responsible for the Federal Reserve, banking affairs and securities regulation.
Gensler replaces Jay Clayton, a former Wall Street attorney who ran the SEC during the Trump administration. By the time he took office, Trump had pledged to soften the rules on Wall Street and the financial markets, and Clayton has led a deregulation push.
The rules were relaxed under the landmark Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010, which tightened the reins on banks and investment firms after the 2008-09 financial crisis and the Great Recession.
The CFPB was created at Warren’s behest as an independent agency under the Dodd-Frank Act. Its director was given considerable leeway to act alone without gaining approval from members of an agency committee.
While enforcing consumer protection laws, the CFPB has also been empowered to review the practices of virtually all companies that sell financial products and services: credit card companies, payday lenders, mortgage service providers, debt collection agencies, nonprofit colleges, auto lenders, and money transfer agents.
Chopra was an assistant to its first director, Richard Cordray, when the agency carried out enforcement actions against a number of companies, large and small, returning tens of billions of dollars to consumers harmed by illegal practices.
The CFPB became the target of Conservative Republicans. President Donald Trump named then White House Treasurer Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB when Cordray left in November 2017.
Mulvaney had been a vocal critic of the consumer agency and had made profound changes, relaxed payday loan regulations and withdrawn enforcement efforts. The agency has been headed by Trump-appointed Kathy Kraninger since December 2018.
As one of two Democratic commissioners on the five-person Federal Trade Commission, Chopra was an outspoken critic of the practices of large corporations, particularly tech giant Facebook.
He has expressed violent disagreements over FTC actions against the company for data breaches and alleged anti-competitive behavior, saying they did not go far enough.