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Reversal of CFPB proposal may spell less forceful regulatory oversight than feared

Apr 13, 2012 Walt Wojciechowski

The newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has caused a considerable amount of headache and controversy for the finance sector, particularly for banks and debt collection agencies. But the CFPB appears to be backing off on at least one regulatory measure. According to The Associated Press, the agency acknowledged Thursday that its proposal to limit heavy upfront fees on credit cards would end up increasing costs for cardholders and allow banks to make additional charges. The limit applies to charges that banks can levy on individuals within the first year that they own a credit card. Some analysts claim the reversal marks a the CFPB's aim to show that its oversight can serve as a "bridge" for businesses to drive revenues, rendering its regulatory powers less daunting and troublesome than many may have assumed. "Just a year ago, the view was that this agency was going to be devastating for business," Mark Williams, a former examiner for the Federal Reserve, todl the AP, referring to the CFPB's  creation of potentially costly or unnecessary consumer protections. "[Thursday's action shows it] could be very effective for consumers and also bridge the needs of business to make profits."