White House Feeling it on Fees
Yesterday, President Biden gave remarks at a meeting of the White House Competition Council, which is composed of a number of administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.
The President’s speech focused on fees and prices in a number of areas – mobile phones, airlines, gas, prescription drugs, meat and poultry markets, and financial services. Specifically, he referenced an executive order that he released a year ago to promote competition by lowering prices. He encouraged all members of the council “to go even further than we’ve gone so far.”
He referenced “unnecessary hidden fees,” referring to them as “junk fees,” calling out overdraft fees, nonsufficient fund fees, and credit card late fees. “The council is going to come back to me,” President Biden said, “… with a plan for eliminating and reducing fees.”
The CFPB is already proposing new practices for collecting data from credit card companies to help consumers comparison-shop and reviewing allowable credit card late fees. It also issued a compliance bulletin on prepaid cards, launched an initiative on fees, and fined a prison financial services company.
The CFPB could take several different steps via either guidance or enforcement action in response to the president’s request to “go even further” on fees, including identifying certain fees as unfair, deceptive, or abusive. Of course, it could also issue a rulemaking, but CFPB Director Chopra has said that his preference is not to write a rule unless directed to do so by Congress. AFSA will continue to engage with Director Chopra and CFPB staff.
September 28th, 2022 by Dan Bucherer