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CFPB levels first fine on Capital One

Capital One must pay $210 million after settling charges from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it misled credit card customers.

Jeff Horwich: Capital One is paying 210 million dollars to settle charges it tricked credit card customers into buying expensive add-on services. It's the first fine, by the way, issued by the Obama administration's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Here's our senior business correspondent Bob Moon.


Bob Moon: The agency's first enforcement action signals that the CFPB intends to take an aggressive approach to banking industry abuses. So says Consumers Union senior attorney Norma Garcia. She notes Capital One is being held responsible for the actions of a third-party vendor that ran the bank's call center.

Norma Garcia: What we were finding in the past is that, as the buck was being passed, nobody was being held responsible. And that's got to stop, and it looks like that's what's happening.

Garcia says the agency also took a no-nonsense approach to refunding consumers, by ordering an automatic credit to their account.

Garcia: Which makes things a lot easier than to have to pursue getting your money back.

The CFPB might have started out punishing a big name, but critics say the irony is, the new agency actually gives bigger banks an unfair edge. Sam Kazman speaks for the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute. He says big banks can afford this new layer of regulation.

Sam Kazman: Small banks around the country have folded up certain lines of business simply because they can't carry the regulatory burden. And what that means is, they're giving up business to large banks.

Kazman vows that his group will keep trying to block the CFPB in court.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.
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