One broad approach would be to bring the participation of big data platforms in marketing financial services under the regulation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which should regularly audit their practices to ensure they are not facilitating predatory price discrimination or other financial scams online. The CPFB is tasked not only with regulating abuses by the banking industry, but it is also required to restrain abuses by “larger nonbank participants” in the financial system.[i] Precisely because so many of these predatory offers are hidden from public view, the CFPB could play a prime role in improving data collection and better assessing the financial harm to consumers from these advertiser practices online. By closely overseeing how online advertising players collect and share the personal data they control with financial services firms, many of the abuses that fueled the concern that created the CPFB in the first place could be reined in before consumers fall victim to fraudulent or discriminatory offers.
[i] The CPFB in developing its rules noted the source of this authority. See Defining Larger Participants in Certain Consumer Financial Product and Service Markets, Proposed Rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Feb. 17, 2012, Footnote 3; https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/02/17/2012-3775/defining-l... (“Section 1024 of the Act applies to nondepository (nonbank) covered persons and expressly excludes from coverage persons described in sections 1025(a) or 1026(a) of the Act. Under section 1002(6) of the Act, a “covered person” means “(A) any person that engages in offering or providing a consumer financial product or service; and (B) any affiliate of a person described [in (A)] if such affiliate acts as a service provider to such person.”)