The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently hit two major milestones: its director, Richard Cordray, a controversial recess appointee, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the agency marked its second anniversary in the face of strong opposition from the banking industry.

The CFPB has an ambitious agenda for the future. A number of studies and investigations the agency is conducting suggests that several new areas could come under its scrutiny, including payday lenders, privately issued student loans, credit-rating agencies, and reverse mortgages.

While consumer advocates are applauding the CFPB’s aggressiveness, business advocates worry about the agency overreaching. “It’s a very paternalistic agency,” said Alan S. Kaplinsky, who heads the Consumer Financial Services Group at Ballard Spahr. “They decide what they think is good or bad for consumers.

Mr. Kaplinsky said that fear of CFPB enforcement actions is discouraging financial services companies from rolling out new products. “Very often, the CFPB may not like something, even if it’s perfectly lawful,” he said. “The rest of the industry says, ‘I don’t want to take a change that the CFPB doesn’t like what I’m doing, so I’m going to get the heck out of that business.’”

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Consumer Financial Services