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The Week Ahead: CFPB Director Cordray to Face Grilling from Congress

microphone Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray will testify in a full committee hearing in the House Financial Services Committee [1], on Wednesday, March 16, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Cordray will be making his semi-annual report on the Bureau to Congress. It will be the first time he has appeared before the House Financial Services Committee since last September. He will likely face some tough questioning from the Republican-controlled committee, particularly from committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has been one of the Bureau's most outspoken critics throughout its nearly five years of existence.

One topic that is sure to come up during the hearing is that of mortgage credit. Cordray said last week in a speech [2] at the Consumer Bankers Association that “credit is still too tight, at least in my view,” when it comes to obtaining a loan for a mortgage—though some say credit is tight because they believe that over-regulation on the part of the CFPB has made it that way.


Richard Cordray


Jeb Hensarling

“The CFPB undoubtedly remains the single most powerful and least accountable Federal agency in all of Washington,” Hensarling said. “When it comes to the credit cards, auto loans and mortgages of hardworking taxpayers, the CFPB has unbridled, discretionary power not only to make those less available and more expensive, but to absolutely take them away. Consequently, Americans are losing both their financial independence and the protection of the rule of law.”

Federal Open Market Committee

Also on Wednesday, March 16, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) [3] will wrap up its second meeting of 2016 and the second meeting since the historic December liftoff. The consensus in the industry is that another rate hike is unlikely at this meeting even though core inflation is rising.

A report from Capital Economics released last week [4] stated that “We expect the Fed to resume raising interest rates in June (although April isn’t completely ruled out). We also believe that a faster-than-anticipated rise in core inflation this year and next will prompt the Fed to raise interest rates more than the markets and other economists anticipate.”

The meeting begins on Tuesday and will concluded on Wednesday with an announcement at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

This week at a glance

Tuesday, March 15
Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins

Wednesday, March 16
Housing starts report for February by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, 8:30 a.m. Eastern time

Semi-annual Hearing on the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in the House Financial Services Committee, 10 a.m. Eastern time

Thursday, March 17
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) for February from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 a.m. Eastern time