The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced plans in fiscal year 2017 to implement new rules governing the small, short-term loan market. The federal agency aims to make it easier for banks and credit unions to offer “small-dollar” loans to compete with the multibillion dollar payday loan industry.
If you’re curious how the CFPB stacks up as a financial regulator, RegData provides detailed metrics on each regulatory agency that publishes rules in the Code of Federal Regulations. Each part of the CFR is published by at least one federal regulatory agency, and since RegData analyzes the regulatory content of CFR at the part level, it allows you compare regulatory trends across agencies.
The CFPB was authorized by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and formed in the summer of 2011. It started publishing rules in the CFR in 2012, which means that it is one of the youngest regulators on the block.
However, RegData’s agency summary suggests the late start hasn’t kept the CFPB from matching some of the older and better known financial regulators in terms of total regulatory restrictions contained in its regulations.
To see this for yourself, download the RegData summary extract by agency (direct download link), which contains annual data series for restrictions and word counts. Once you’ve opened the dataset in Excel (or an equivalent spreadsheet editor), highlight the entire dataset and filter by either the “agency_name” or “agency_id” column. In Excel, this can be accomplished by the “filter” option under the “data” tab, unchecking the “select all” option, and choosing the agencies or departments that you’d like to analyze.
Let’s compare the CFPB to a number of other financial regulators. For convenience you can simply check off those agencies in the “agency_name” and year 2014 columns of the filter table to compare the agencies’ regulatory totals for the most recent year for which we have data. You can then plot them on a bar chart, as seen below. And as the plot shows, despite its relative youth, the CFPB is already one of the major regulators in financial services.