Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Abstract

Predatory lending is an avaricious fraud that demands attention. Several states have enacted new laws to combat predatory lending. Moreover, the battle against predatory lending and other abusive practices has focused attention on the overall structure of consumer credit laws. The current structure is dual; both state and federal governments play significant roles in combating credit fraud. The dual structure has been the source of controversy as federal regulators have claimed the power to preempt state law. This article furthers the structural debate and the effort to combat predatory lending by examining the architecture of consumer credit laws within the federal system. The responsibility for enforcing federal consumer credit laws is divided among many federal agencies. This is confusing and inefficient. To compound the problem, much of the enforcement of consumer credit laws is in the hands of bank regulators rather than consumer protection agencies. The principal role of a bank regulator is to protect the solvency of a bank. The principal role of a consumer protection agency is to protect the consumer. While these two roles can be synergistic, they can also clash. Therefore, tasking the bank regulator with the job of consumer protection creates an intra-agency conflict. This article proposes a range of alternative regulatory structures that could provide for more efficient and fair consumer protection.

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