CFPB director speaks with Cornerstone credit union leaders, advocates

October 17, 2022

More than 50 Cornerstone-member credit union leaders and advocates spoke with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra. Discussion topics included auto loans, overdraft protection programs, rulemaking, and ways to engage with the CFPB. 

Chopra opened with a brief on the economic climate, CFPB priorities, and recent efforts to open a dialogue with credit unions to get a first-hand account of the credit union landscape.

Chopra praised credit unions for stepping up to help their members take on larger debt burdens amid a tight economy. 

“While the labor market continues to be pretty strong, we have not really been in an inflationary cycle in a long time,” he said. “That means a lot of our businesses and consumers don’t really have a prior reference. I’m seeing lots of issues in auto lending. We see a lot of credit unions stepping up to help their members as they take on larger debt burdens.”

Chopra said that the rapidly changing payments landscape, particularly Google and Apple Pay, is changing the way consumers engage with money, which presents challenges, especially for smaller financial institutions. The challenges have contributed to a shift from relationship banking toward algorithm banking, which can have detrimental effects on consumers.

“I’m interested in restoring and safeguarding relationship banking,” Chopra said. “I encourage everyone to reflect and ask themselves, ‘What are we doing now as a community that’s working?’”

He also encouraged credit unions to make auto loans to initiate further conversations. “Auto lending is a great asset for a credit union,” he said. “It’s also a great way to create a relationship with someone. An initial conversation about auto loans can turn into a larger conversation about financial health.”