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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is entering 2013 poised to flex its muscles more vigorously than ever before. [...]
As it pushes into new territory, the bureau has greater political protection. Not only did Mr. Obama, who made the CFPB a central part of his pitch on the importance of Dodd-Frank, win re-election, Democrats increased their numbers in the Senate, making it harder for agency critics to pass legislation to weaken its powers. Democrat Elizabeth Warren, the bureau's chief architect and champion, won her Senate race against Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts and will have a seat on the Senate banking committee, a spot from which she can more easily fight against efforts to change the bureau.
The CFPB is "going to be more confident and more aggressive," said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-advocacy organization. He also predicted that the agency's many critics in the financial industry will face a tough time getting lawmakers to make changes to the agency. "The fact is the Senate is a little bit more pro-consumer than it was before, and the industry is just going to have to live with that." [...]
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