WHAT'S NEW: The consumer agency created in the wake of the financial crisis launches Thursday with sweeping new powers to oversee credit cards, mortgages, auto-title loans and other financial products sold to consumers.
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The agency already is creating simpler paperwork to help mortgage borrowers understand costs, setting up a hotline for complaints about financial products and reaching out to military families through an office dedicated to their concerns.
WHAT'S MISSING: Without a confirmed director, the agency can't write and enforce rules governing payday lenders, credit bureaus or other nonbank financial companies. The agency was created to regulate many such companies for the first time. Republicans say they will block any nominee for the job until the powers of the agency and its director are scaled back.