Eric Johnson, partner at Hudson Cook LLP

Eric Johnson, partner at Hudson Cook LLP

TORRANCE, Calif. — When it comes to the current state of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Hudson Cook LLP attorney and partner Eric Johnson says, “Be careful what you wish for.” He’ll join F&I and Showroom’s Gregory Arroyo on Wednesday, June 6, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET for Part One of the magazine’s compliance webinar series, “Who Will Take Up the CFPB’s Torch.”

Johnson will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the embattled regulator, whose guidance on dealer participation is on the brink of repeal. The bureau’s Office of Fair Lending was also stripped of its enforcement powers, a move that essentially defanged the division that led the bureau’s targeting of dealer rate markups.

“Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has made it clear that the CFPB will no longer ‘push the envelope,’ and Eric will exam exactly what that means,” said Gregory Arroyo, editorial director for F&I and Showroom magazine. “But the reason dealers, F&I pros, agents and product providers need to register is he’s also going to look at the likely candidates to take up the CFPB’s torch, and whether F&I products will be in their crosshairs.”

On April 26, days after the U.S. Senate approved a resolution of disapproval of the bureau’s dealer participation guidance, a coalition of 16 Attorneys General vowed to continue enforcing consumer protection laws. They criticized the Trump Administration’s move to limit the bureau’s investigative authority, saying “it will only allow bad actors to exploit consumers.”

“If Washington refuses to stand up for consumers, my fellow Attorneys General and I won’t hesitate to enforce consumer protection laws and protect those we serve,” they wrote in a letter sent to Mulvaney on April 25.

Johnson will also look at current efforts to transform the bureau from a single-director structure to a commission, as well as CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English’s court battle to unseat Mulvaney as head of the embattled regulator. He will also take a look at how the Federal Trade Commission is likely to respond to the what’s taken place at the bureau since the acting director’s appointment.

“F&I products and how dealers price those protections aren’t out of the regulatory woods yet,” Arroyo said. “Eric and I will examine two recent reports from consumer advocates that were highly critical of F&I product pricing and sales. Keep in mind that the bureau’s targeting of rate markups was tied to a since-debunked study from the Center for Responsible Lending, so those reports should not be overlooked.”

To register for Part 1 of F&I and Showroom’s compliance webinar series, click here.