Ark. AG meets with Cordray, consumer advocates

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Legal Newsline) -- Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel co-hosted two roundtable discussions Monday with the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Arkansas consumer advocates.

McDaniel requested that Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB and a former Ohio attorney general, visit Arkansas during a meeting between the two in Washington in July.

Cordray met with community groups, banks and elected officials about efforts to help Arkansas consumers.

"I appreciate Director Cordray's willingness to come to Arkansas and hear what is on the minds of the leaders of our community groups and financial institutions," the attorney general said in a statement.

"The state and federal government can and should work cooperatively to help protect consumers in the financial marketplace."

Consumer advocates shared their concerns with Cordray and his top advisers about illegal debt collection tactics, mortgage-servicing abuses and online payday lenders.

Cordray, in turn, discussed methods to help low-income Arkansans obtain access to credit without falling into the debt traps of short-term, high-interest loans. He said the CFPB is considering federal regulations on payday lending.

Cordray also met with bankers who asked the CFPB to avoid implementing federal regulations that could restrict the ability of the banks to meet the financial needs of their consumers.

"Our bankers and business leaders want a level playing field when it comes to federal oversight," McDaniel said. "I have said repeatedly that community banks in Arkansas should not have to pay for the sins of conglomerates like Goldman Sachs, or else such overregulation may keep our banks from helping to grow the state's economy."

Cordray discussed how new federal regulations of banks and mortgage servicers were working at the local level. Community bankers throughout Arkansas gave Cordray valuable input on that point, McDaniel said.

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