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After the cataclysmic financial meltdown of 2008, Congress reacted with the Dodd-Frank Act to correct market misbehavior, stabilize the economy and shield consumers from exploitation by financial institutions. Out of this far-reaching legislation emerged a new, independent consumer protection agency with the potential to transform the relationship between financial institutions and consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), America’s first federal agency focused solely on consumer financial protection, is spearheading a fundamental culture shift in financial compliance and operation. With its single director and insulation from executive and legislative control, the CFPB is vested with broad and sweeping power to control, supervise and enforce promulgated rules for consumer financial providers. One of the CFPB’s primary goals, and the source of most controversy and risk for covered persons, is the prevention of “unfair, deceptive or abusive [consumer financial] acts or practices.” Armed with powerful regulatory and enforcement abilities and an arsenal of loosely-defined statutory terms, the CFPB is leading a crusade against unfairness toward consumers with respect to financial products, the extent of which is yet to be determined.

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