"With Meltdown: The Financial Crisis, Consumer Protection, and the Road Forward, Larry Kirsch and Greg Squires provide a valuable service. . . . This book is the first of this type and hopefully sets a trend for evaluating the new federal oversight established after the Great Recession. . . . In sum, Kirsch and Squires have written an insightful book that documents an important phase of an agency’s history; that is, how the agency came into being, and its institutional strengths and weaknesses. It provides valuable lessons for the CFPB’s growth as well as providing suggestions about how to create future initiatives like this from scratch."
"Kirsch and Squires have penned the definitive chronicle of the first years of a transformative federal agency—the CFPB. They have combined rigorous archival research with in-depth interviews of key insiders to help readers understand the enormous challenges that faced the Bureau as it took on what many consider to be the most powerful lobbying force in the nation—the financial services industry. There are lessons here for the general public but also for policymakers, students of policy making, and advocates looking to build a more equitable economic playing field."
"This book provides an interesting, readable account of how Director Richard Cordray and others shaped the approach of the newly formed CFPB to its role as the preeminent consumer financial services regulatory agency and the challenges and opposition (some of which came from me and my law firm) faced by the bureau as it embarked on its initial initiatives. Even the bureau’s closest observers are likely to learn something new from the book’s account of the bureau’s early efforts directed at mortgage origination and auto lending. The book combines considerable research with in-depth interviews to offer an appraisal that will interest scholars, practitioners, and readers of current politics and policy."
"After the 2008 economic collapse, consumer, civil rights, and labor groups went 'all in' for then-professor Elizabeth Warren’s idea of a consumer agency to protect pocketbooks and wallets. Now, just after the CFPB’s fifth birthday, Kirsch and Squires go behind the scenes to explore why some of the young agency’s leaders moved in the directions that they did to fight the endemic problems that CFPB director Richard Cordray calls the 'four Ds: deception, debt traps, dead ends, and discrimination.' The book is an important addition to the public record about an agency that is controversial only to the powerful special interests that oppose it but necessary to the consumers who have a safer financial marketplace because of it."
"An indispensable account of the birth of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its tumultuous early years, with a richly documented analysis of the Bureau’s pivotal battles to tame the nation’s mortgage market and police discrimination in auto lending. Drawing on extensive interviews with enthusiasts as well as critics, this volume offers an invaluable resource for those seeking to evaluate continuing debates over the future of the CFPB."
"Meltdown examines the clash of incentives of the key political and industry players in a thoroughly-researched account of the complex, tragic, and sometimes scandalous machinations of the financial services system, as well as the regulatory solutions designed to correct them. Kirsch and Squires are the first to put forth a rigorous analysis of the evolution and impact of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s original vision for consumer financial protection."
"Kirsch and Squires are consumer law shamans who have a deep contextual understanding of the consumer market and the competing interests of all its market participants. They are clearly adept at much more than reading tea leaves and their extensive experience and engaging manner of addressing the topic at hand makes Meltdown a gripping read and a thought-provoking biography of the CFPB and the importance of context for purposes of charting the regulatory maze. This book is a must–read for consumer agencies and anyone with a keen interest in consumer law. It is clearly most timely in view of the political interest in the CFPB in the US Congress and Administration. I will definitely be passing it on to my colleagues at the soon-to-be established Financial Sector Conduct Authority that forms part of South Africa’s imminent move towards a Twin Peaks System of regulation and am confident that studying the observations by Kirsch and Squires will avoid many 'lift-off' headaches and a sharper focus for future intervention."
American Banker, All the Fury Over CFPB Ignores Its Modest Mission, 11/23/2016
The Hill, Does consumer protection have a future?, 11/30/2016
HuffPost, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Past, Present, And Future, 2/27/2017
The Hill, Watchdog or lapdog: The future of the CFPB is in doubt, 12/5/2017