President Joe Biden has nominated Rohit Chopra, a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
In his new role, Chopra will oversee the financial products and services that are offered to consumers as well as provide and enforce rules meant to empower consumers to take control of their personal financial lives. Specifically, he and others at the CFPB will educate and inform consumers against abusive financial practices, supervise banks and other financial institutions, and study data to better understand consumers and the financial markets they participate in. Chopra previously served as assistant director of the agency.
Chopra, a Democrat supported by progressives, was confirmed as an FTC commissioner in 2018 and has since worked to increase the scrutiny of Big Tech corporations that pose risks to privacy, national security, and fair competition. “He has actively advocated to promote fair, competitive markets that protect families and honest businesses from abuses,” the Biden administration said.
Previous Tenure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Chopra was an early hire of Sen. Elizabeth Warren after she set up the CFPB in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis under the Obama administration. During this time, Chopra led the agency’s efforts on student loans as the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman. Chopra also served as a special advisor at the U.S. Department of Education.
In these roles, Chopra pushed student loan companies to better treat borrowers and developed tools to help students and loan borrowers make smarter decisions.
The CFPB has been politically polarizing since its creation, with Democrats supporting the agency’s regulation of “financial-industry excess,” while Republicans and Wall Street criticize the bureau’s power over a significant portion of the economy. CFPB is unique in that Congress has limited the ability of the president to remove the agency’s director, who serves a five-year term.
The Trump administration has previously sought to cut the budget of the CFPB, but Director Kathy Kraninger, a Trump appointee and Chopra’s predecessor, in February sought a 14% increase in the bureau's fiscal 2020 budget to $580 million. The Trump administration also softened the CFPB’s crackdown on payday lenders and set aside work on a rule to rein in overdraft fees on checking accounts — two things progressive groups and consumer advocates hope Chopra will revisit
Chopra received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.