Fitzpatrick, Committee Hear About Consumer Data Collection

Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA-8) delivers his opening remarks at Tuesday's Financial Services Committee hearing on CFPB data collection
Fitzpatrick, Committee Hear About Consumer Data Collection

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) Tuesday participated in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaus’ (CFPB) collection and use of consumer financial data. 

“Data collection and research is not a bad thing; in fact it’s the sort of diligence we should expect of a regulator,” said Fitzpatrick, a member of the Financial Services Committee.  “However just because a government agency  has good intentions, or a benevolent sounding name, doesn’t mean Congress should just look the other way while tens of millions of Americans are having their financial history gathered up and stored.”

The Financial Investigations Subcommittee hearing focused on the legality of CFPB’s collection of data under Dodd-Frank Act and other laws, as well as efforts to ensure the collected data is never exploited.

“In the hearing, the CFPB acknowledged that they are keeping data on individual Americans,” said Fitzpatrick, “I would like to see more transparency in the data collection process to ensure Americans are protected.”

The CFPB was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer protection Act to regulate and supervise the offering of consumer financial products or services under federal laws. The CFPB is tasked with the authority to gather information from time to time regarding the organization, business conduct, markets, and activities of covered person and service providers through examination of reports, consumer complaints, voluntary consumer surveys, interviews, or databases.

Currently, the CFPB is collecting data on at least 10 million consumers by compelling supervised entities to provide consumer data upon request as well as by purchasing consumer data from outside sources.

“Just as the Dodd Frank Act gave the CFPB the authority that it is now exercising to collect this data, the law also put some very specific constraints on this activity,” said Fitzpatrick in his opening statements. “Recent stories involving the NSA have demonstrated that the American people and members of congress have every reason to be suspicious of so-called “meta data” gathering and analysis.”

During questioning of Acting Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Steven Antonakes, Fitzpatrick inquired if the CFPB gathered information on individual consumers. Antonakes acknowledged that the bureau did store that kind of information but were not interested in who the specific person was.

“We don’t just need assurances that there is nothing potentially harmful or invasive going on, we need maximum transparency to ensure it beyond any doubt,” said Fitzpatrick. “The CFPB must do more in this regard.”

Watch Congressman Fitzpatrick’s opening remarks HERE

Watch Congressman Fitzpatrick’s line of questioning HERE

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.