June 18th, 2015

Huffington Post Article


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is privately urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to replace the head of the New York Department of Financial Services — Benjamin Lawsky, nicknamed the “Sheriff of Wall Street” for his tough enforcement approach — with Rohit Chopra, a top regulator at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

On Thursday, a coalition of consumer advocates and progressive groups also voiced their support for Chopra, saying in a release that he has “a strong record of uncovering and addressing predatory behavior” in the financial industry.

Chopra is currently the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman and assistant director. He has testified before Congress on the growing evidence for a negative “student debt domino effect” on the economy, caused by the country’s more than $1.2 trillion in outstanding loans. He has also investigated student loan servicing companies and is credited with aiding a $96.6 million settlement between the Department of Justice and student lender Sallie Mae for improper conduct. In May, the CFPB signaled that it was developing its own rules to regulate student loan companies, which are currently subject to Department of Education regulations that many consider outdated and ineffective.

Inside Mortgage Finance first floated Chopra in May as a possible contender to replace Lawsky. The other candidates that have been mentioned are either currently in private practice or have less obviously aggressive regulatory track records.

A spokeswoman for the CFPB confirmed to The Huffington Post that Chopra is planning to leave the agency, but would not say where he is headed. Lawsky will officially leave his post in late June.

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