>>RON HOWARD: Now the story of a market that fell apart and the new consumer agency that’s charged with putting it back together. When you shop for a consumer financial product or service whether it’s a home loan, a credit card, or a student loan how do you know you’re getting the best deal? After wading through all the advertising and page after page of fine print, side-by-side comparisons can be hard. That lack of clarity makes it all too easy to end up with a deal that doesn’t work for you and your family. This has real-life consequences—for you and for the whole economy. For years, the financial system has been loaded with more and more dangerous loans, including millions of risky and unaffordable mortgages. Many government agencies supervised different parts of the system, making it nearly impossible for people to hold any one agency accountable. This fractured and outdated system was slow to adjust to the built up of risk in our economy, and we all know what happened then…. It was time for a change. In July 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and President Obama signed it into law. Instead of important consumer protection powers being scattered across the federal government, they would all be under one roof. Now a single entity has the oversight authority to make sure that consumer financial markets work for all of us; not just for the big guys. It’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB. Its job is to make credit products and other consumer financial services safer and easier to understand by making sure that prices are clear up front and risks are easy to see. Think about it like this: When you go to the store to buy a toaster, you have several models to choose from. But you know that whatever model you buy, the thing isn’t going to burn your house down. No manufacturer gets to boost its profits by putting in cheap wiring that you can’t see. If someone wants to compete for your business, they need to lower the price or add new features. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will work to cut down on the fine print, which means there won’t be places to hide nasty surprises. It will also work to make the prices and risks clear for mortgages, credit cards, and other kinds of financial products and services. That way, families can do some comparison shopping and choose the products that are best for them. The CFPB will be a cop on the beat, making sure that every lender follows the same rules. When banks or other financial companies break the law, they will be held accountable. The Consumer Financial Bureau is brand new. Right now, it’s putting in place the basic tools so it can tackle all of these responsibilities. Stay in touch as the CFPB works to fix the broken consumer credit market and to help prevent future economic crises.