AP IMPACT: Regulator barks, industry shudders

September 12, 2012 - 7:33 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new federal agency charged with enforcing consumer finance laws is emerging as an ambitious sheriff, issuing more than 100 subpoenas related to dozens of enforcement probes.

Agency, industry and trade group officials told The Associated Press that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is demanding testimony and marketing materials — sometimes millions of pages — from companies that include credit card lenders, for-profit colleges and mortgage servicers.

Companies are racing to adjust, improving their record-keeping and hiring defense lawyers for the first time. Some are overhauling marketing strategies.

Industry officials say the agency's tactics have taken the financial industry by surprise, and might increase costs for consumers or limit their choices.

More than two dozen officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas forbid both sides from discussing them.