Indian-American financial expert Rohit Chopra on Thursday was confirmed by the Senate to be the next Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Chopra, 39, would serve a five-year term at the helm of the federal consumer watchdog, the Washington Post reported.

The Senate voted 50 to 48 to confirm Chopra to be the head of the federal agency tasked with protecting the interests of consumers financials. He would be succeeding Kathleen Laura Kraninger, who resigned in January at the request of President Joe Biden, the report added.

The bureau regulates the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services under the federal consumer financial laws and educates and empowers consumers to make better informed financial decisions.

Progressives see him as an experienced and headstrong rulemaker who is not afraid to take a hard line against big banks. Conservatives, meanwhile, say they fear he will steer the bureau toward becoming an unaccountable regulatory body with an anti-business agenda. “It’s very likely that Chopra would return the CFPB to the rogue, unaccountable, anti-business agency it was during the Obama administration," Senator Patrick J. Toomey was quoted as saying by the report.

Democrats and consumer advocates have championed Chopra’s nomination, saying they hope he will reinvigorate an agency that languished under former President Donald Trump.

Vows to act tough

In early confirmation hearings, Chopra vowed to crack down on the ways that banks are using online behavioural advertising to manipulate consumers, as well as take a hard look at data-collection practices at banks. He also said he would beef up a CFPB division focusing on fair lending and equal opportunity issues, the report said.

Chopra previously served as the Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission. He has actively advocated promoting fair, competitive markets that protect families and honest businesses from abuses.

He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018, and he has pushed for aggressive remedies against lawbreaking companies, especially repeat offenders. Together with state and international law enforcement partners, he has worked to increase scrutiny of dominant technology firms that pose risks to privacy, national security, and fair competition.

Chopra has also served as Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led the agency’s efforts on student loans.

In 2011, the Secretary of the Treasury appointed him to serve as the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman, a new position established in the financial reform law. He also served as a Special Advisor at the US Department of Education.