11 House members send 7 questions to CFPB about vehicle repossessions
The American Financial Services Association highlighted that 11 members of the U.S. House sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau containing seven questions triggered by the regulator saying it is “moving to thwart illegal repossessions in the heated auto market.”
The lawmakers began their letter by referencing a post on Twitter by CFPB director Rohit Chopra, who said, “No one ever wants to wake up to find that their car has been stolen. Given today’s high prices for used cars, the CFPB is taking action to thwart illegal auto repossessions by auto lenders, investors, and servicers.”
The representatives asked Chopra respond to the following questions to determine the level of concern members of Congress should have regarding vehicle repossessions mentioned in part by a previous CFPB bulletin. The questions included:
• In the three years prior to the pandemic (2017, 2018, 2019), how many auto repossessions took place within the United States per each year?
• How many auto repossessions took place during the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021?
• In each year described above, please determine how many instances the CFPB found of an abusive act or practice in auto repossessions.
• In each of the above-mentioned years, how many public enforcement actions resulted from automobile repossessions.
• What historic evidence does the CFPB have that higher automobile costs correlate to illegal repossessions?
• With respect to the enforcement actions cited in the bulletin — does the CFPB have any evidence that the illegal practices cited in these enforcement actions are widespread across the auto lending industry?
• Going forward, does the CFPB commit to resolving limited or circumstantial instances of illegal auto repossessions under your supervision function instead of leading with your enforcement arm?
The lawmakers who signed the letter included:
Rep. Andy Barr
Rep. Warren Davidson
Rep. Lance Gooden
Rep. Bill Huizenga
Rep. David Kustoff
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
Rep. Bill Posey
Rep. Pete Sessions
Rep. William Timmons IV
Rep. Ann Wagner
Rep. Roger Williams
The lawmakers closed their letter to Chopra by writing that his comments were “the latest in a recent trend from your office making disparaging and derogatory statements about legally operating businesses. As the preeminent regulator of consumer financial products, making unfounded and intentionally damaging statements is well beneath the position you hold.
“While you certainly have a responsibility to protect consumers, it is important to note, as you did in a separate blog post, ‘for many, their car or truck is essential to get to work or to do their work.’ Absent the ability to obtain financing, many consumers would be forced to go without,” the lawmakers continued.
“It is important that you stick to the job of protecting consumers and leave behind the practice of denigrating an entire industry and the American citizens and consumers they employ,” the members of Congress added.
AFSA wrapped up its own blog post about the development by writing the association “is encouraged by Congress’ support of an industry that has been working hard for its customers during a challenging time, and we look forward to the CFPB director’s response.”