Getting to Know the CFPB

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[authors:  J.C. Boggs, Lauren M. Donoghue]

A little over one year ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) became the nation’s first federal agency focused solely on protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. In this critical role, the CFPB promises to shape the market for consumer credit for years to come. On October 17th, King & Spalding will be hosting a thought leadership event featuring CFPB Senior Advisor and Counselor Len Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy brings unique insight into the mission and workings of the CFPB and will provide an insider’s perspective on the Bureau’s rulemaking, supervision and enforcement efforts relating to credit cards, mortgages, student loans and other financial products and services. He will also comment on the Bureau’s extensive outreach to large and small institutions, including banks and nonbanks, as the CFPB seeks to gather as much information as possible as it makes policy decisions. An open roundtable discussion will follow Mr. Kennedy's remarks and will include a panel of experts from Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, King & Spalding and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For more information, click here.

The CFPB this week published its draft
strategic plan for 2013-2018, which will guide the agency in every aspect of its operation, interpretation, regulation, supervision and enforcement. In the plan, the CFPB identifies four strategic goals, eleven desired outcomes and twenty-five strategies that state the actions the agency will take to accomplish their outcomes. The CFPB’s goals are: to prevent financial harm to consumers while promoting good practices that benefit them; empower consumers to live better financial lives; inform the public, policy makers, and the CFPB’s own policy-making with data-driven analysis of consumer finance markets and consumer behavior; and advance the CFPB’s performance by maximizing resource productivity and enhancing impact. The CFPB is asking for public comments on the plan by October 25th, 2012.

The CFPB also recently announced the appointment of 25 people to its newly-formed Consumer Advisory Board, which is charged with providing advice to the agency on a broad range of consumer financial issues and emerging market trends. The members, which include experts in the fields of consumer protection, financial services, community development, fair lending, civil rights, and consumer financial products or services, will serve staggered three-year terms. The Board held their first meeting at the end of last month in St. Louis, MO. The Board is required by statute to meet at least twice a year.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican senators last week joined a lawsuit challenging the Administration’s recess appointments, including that of the Director of the CFPB. In January, President Obama appointed Richard Cordray to head the CFPB, along with three new members to the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the Senate was in recess. Several Republican senators objected, saying that the Senate was holding pro forma sessions during the holiday break and accused President Obama of unconstitutionally bypassing the legislative branch to appoint controversial nominees. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with 41 other Republican Senators, filed an amicus brief challenging President Obama’s recess appointments. Only five GOP Senators did not join the brief - Senators Scott Brown (R-MA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).