October 3, 2023 — Press Release

Payday Lenders Arguments Fall Flat at Court

Questions Highlighted How Radical and Baseless the Payday Lenders’ Argument Against CFPB Is And Its Wide-Sweeping Implications for the American Economy

Washington, D.C. – Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a case that could undermine the CFPB and create widespread havoc in the financial sector and our economy.  

A broad coalition of over 40 organizations released the following statement:

“The Department of Justice persuasively argued that the challengers’ radical legal theory is without merit and the CFPB’s funding structure is constitutionally sound. This case should have never reached the Supreme Court – and the payday lenders’ arguments fell flat today because there is simply no precedent or history supporting their position. Congress has used such stable funding mechanisms since the republic’s founding, and its decision to fund the CFPB in a way that creates stability for our economy and for consumers remains lawful and reasonable. 

If the Court embraces the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s extreme conclusions about the CFPB, the justices will deal yet another blow to their own credibility and that of the Court. It is reassuring to see that several justices – including Thomas, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett – appeared skeptical of the payday lenders’ theory, which has not been accepted by a single court except the Fifth Circuit. The justices’ questions regarding the broad implications for our economy, financial system, and congressional authority suggest that the payday lenders will not be successful in their attempt to defund the agency’s operations.”  

Organizations that have signed onto this statement include:

  • Democracy Forward
  • 20/20 Vision
  • Accountable.US
  • American Economic Liberties Project
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund
  • CASA of Oregon
  • Center for Responsible Lending
  • Consumer Action
  • Consumer Federation of California
  • Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc.
  • Demand Progress Education Fund
  • Faith in Action Network
  • Fight Corporate Monopolies
  • Florida Consumer Action Network
  • Hoosiers for Responsible Lending
  • Housing Action Illinois
  • Inclusiv
  • Indivisible CA Green Team
  • Main Street Alliance
  • Maine People’s Alliance
  • Markers For Democracy
  • National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)
  • National Community Reinvestment Coalition
  • National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
  • National Employment Law Project
  • National Fair Housing Alliance
  • National Urban League
  • New Economy Project
  • New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center
  • Prosperity Indiana
  • Public Justice Center
  • Rise Economy (formerly California Reinvestment Coalition)
  • Rooted in Resistance (Indivisible)
  • South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
  • Student Borrower Protection Center
  • Texas Appleseed
  • The Workers Circle
  • Tzedek DC
  • U.S. PIRG
  • Virginia Organizing
  • Virginia Poverty Law Center


The challenge to the CFPB is not just a challenge to the agency, but to democracy itself. Depending on the outcome of the case, the Supreme Court will severely hamper Congress’ ability to be responsive to the American people. The CFPB, after all, was founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and people’s outrage over abuses by Wall Street and bad actors like the payday lenders that brought the case.

It’s not just the CFPB at risk, either. The CFPB is one of many government agencies funded outside the appropriations process. Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Farm Credit Administration are all funded outside of appropriations too. If the Supreme Court declares the CFPB’s funding structure unconstitutional up to two-thirds of other federal government spending could be ruled unconstitutional, too.

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