Rohit Chopra

Indian American Rohit Chopra has been nominated by President Donald Trump to fill a vacant seat on the Federal Trade Commission. Trump sent the nomination to the Senate Jan. 25. (Facebook photo)

President Donald Trump Jan. 25 sent to the Senate the nominations of four people to serve on the Federal Trade Commission, including Indian American Rohit Chopra.

If his nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Chopra, a Democrat, will finish out the term of Joshua Wright, who resigned; the term ends Sept. 25, 2019. The FTC has traditionally been comprised of five bi-partisan commissioners. FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez resigned from the post in February 2017, leaving the commission without top leadership for almost a year.

Chopra is a Harvard University alumnus who holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, focusing on consumer protection issues facing young people and military families.

“Rohit is fair-minded, independent, and committed to a marketplace that works for consumers and honest businesses,” said CFA executive director Stephen Brobeck, in a statement posted to the organization’s Web site. “He is well-respected by those with all points of view, and his experience and character will be valuable assets in this critical role.”

Brobeck noted that Chopra is widely regarded for his expertise in the student loan market.

Prior to joining CFA, Chopra served from 2010 to 2015 as assistant director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he oversaw the agency’s work on student financial services issues.

During his tenure at the CFPB, the agency obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds and relief for student loan borrowers to address illegal practices at companies like Wells Fargo and Corinthian Colleges, according to a CFA press statement.

Under a newly established system, tens of thousands of student loan borrowers have filed complaints to get servicing errors fixed and other help. Chopra helped develop a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, voluntarily adopted by thousands of colleges and universities, to help students and families make better decisions about student loans, noted CFA.

In 2012, Chopra and his colleague Holly Petraeus issued a report uncovering a student loan overcharging scheme targeting members of the military. The report led regulators to charge Sallie Mae and Navient with violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, providing $60 million in refunds for 78,000 servicemembers and veterans. Chopra also worked with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general to shut down debt relief scams and deceptive lead generators, such as GIBill.com.

“I’m delighted to see Rohit Chopra nominated to serve as an FTC Commissioner.  He did stellar work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spotlighting abuses that impacted tens of thousands of servicemembers and veterans with student loans,” said Petraeus, who also served as Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, leading the agency’s Office of Servicemember Affairs.

“He has continued to work to protect the rights of consumers and borrowers, and I look forward to his future contributions to the work of the FTC.”

The former Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, also appointed Chopra as the agency’s student loan ombudsman.

In 2016, Chopra served as special adviser to the Secretary of Education, John King.

(See earlier India-West story here: http://bit.ly/2npcV0W)

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