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Elizabeth’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Standing Up For American Consumers and Holding Wall Street Accountable

In 2008, greedy financial institutions crashed our economy and working families all across this country paid the price. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, millions lost their homes, and millions lost their savings. In the aftermath, President Obama signed into law the toughest Wall Street reforms and strongest consumer protections in a generation. Those reforms included a new agency — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — dedicated to stopping scams and holding financial firms accountable when they cheat people.

Elizabeth came up with the idea for the CFPB before the crisis even began and then fought successfully to turn her idea into a reality. She spent a year working with President Obama to set up the CFPB before returning to Massachusetts where she ran against an incumbent Republican for U.S. Senate and won – becoming the state’s first female U.S. Senator in history.

Across the board, Elizabeth is credited for her hard work, dedication, and vision in creating the idea of the CFPB and successfully working to make it a reality. President Obama called the CFPB “Elizabeth’s idea” and praised her “extraordinary work standing up the new agency.” Former CFPB Director Richard Cordray credited her with having “conceived the idea of the agency, fought for its creation, and led its initial stand-up efforts.” Even President Trump’s former acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney called the agency “Elizabeth Warren’s baby.”

The agency opened its doors in 2011, and it has already returned $12.4 billion to over 31 million people cheated by financial companies. 

Every day, despite the best efforts of the banking industry and their allies in Congress and the Trump Administration, the public servants at the CFPB crack down on companies that are cheating veterans, students, seniors, and other consumers.

The consumer agency has held companies accountable for taking advantage of our servicemembers, veterans, and military families: 

The consumer agency has also helped recover millions for students ripped off by for-profit colleges and student loan servicers:

  • The CFPB fined Corinthian Colleges $550 million and secured $663 million for the cheated students after the for-profit colleges lured thousands of students into fraudulent student loans and then used illegal debt collection tactics to strong-arm them into repayment. 
  • The CFPB ordered Discover Bank to pay $2.5 million in fines and refund $16 million to students harmed by their illegal loan servicing practices, including overstating the minimum amounts due on billing statements.

In addition, the consumer agency has worked to fight discrimination in the consumer financial marketplace: 

  • The CFPB fined Ally Financial $18 million and secured $80 million for the more than 235,000 minority borrowers who the company charged more for its auto loans than comparable white borrowers.
  • The CFPB got $35 million from PNC Financial Services Group to compensate the more than 75,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers who the mortgage lender charged higher fees or interest rates based on their race or national origin. 

And the consumer agency took on the big financial institutions and credit card companies when they defrauded Americans. 

  • The CFPB fined Wells Fargo $100 million for opening more than 2 million fake accounts without customer authorization..
  • The CFPB ordered Bank of America to refund roughly $727 million to more than a million customers who purchased add-on products for their credit cards that they never received.
  • The CFPB made Citibank pay an estimated $700 million to roughly 7 million customers harmed by their deceptive and illegal credit card practices, and fined the bank $35 million.

The agency has also transformed the market for financial services. With its new rules on mortgages, credit cards, checking accounts, prepaid cards, and payday loans, the CFPB has helped clean up some of the most predatory practices and knocked bad actors out of the industry altogether.

This agency was Elizabeth’s idea, and through sheer force of will, intelligence, and a bottomless well of energy, she has made, and will continue to make, a profound and positive difference for our country.
President Barack Obama, July 17, 2011

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It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance your home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting your family out on the street . . .Why are consumers safe when they purchase tangible products with cash, but left at the mercy of their creditors when they sign up for routine financial products like mortgages and credit cards?
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