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    USA Today: Consumer watchdog opens for business

    USA Today reports on the opening of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aims to help individuals with fairness and transparency in financial transactions such mortgages or credit cards:

    Depending on who you talk to, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which opens for business Thursday, is a much-needed new cop on the beat or another example of regulatory overreach.

    The agency, designed to provide a financial version of the nearly 40-year-old Consumer Product Safety Commission, doesn’t have a director. Republican opponents want to hold up its funding. But despite those external threats, the agency will hit the ground running, says Elizabeth Warren, the agency’s architect and special White House adviser. […]

    In addition to a website and e-mail updates, CFPB already has a Facebook page, a Twitter stream, and a presence on Flickr and YouTube.

    Among its missions:

    •Create consumer protection laws, as well as supervise and enforce them.
    •Restrict unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices.
    •Create a center to take consumer complaints.
    •Promote financial education.
    •Gather and analyze information.
    •Monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers.
    •Enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance. […]

    Consumer advocates say the agency will fill some important regulatory gaps. […}

    Mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and debt collection will be among the agency’s priorities. But without a director, the agency can’t regulate those businesses. […]

    This week, President Obama nominated former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to lead the CFPB. But many Republican lawmakers say they won’t confirm Cordray or any other nominee unless the agency has more accountability and is run by a commission instead of a single director.

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