Continuing to press their case that the CFPB is not sufficiently accountable to Congress, Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee made the CFPB’s spending habits the focus of criticism at the committee’s hearing this past Tuesday on “CFPB Budget Review.”
The only witness was Stephen Agostini, the CFPB’s Chief Financial Officer. In his prepared remarks, Mr. Agostini discussed the CFPB’s FYs 2013 and 2014 budgets. He indicated that over these two fiscal years, the Division of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending will have the largest increase in funding to support additional staff and systems development. He also indicated that during this period, more than 40 percent of the growth in CFPB staff will support Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending activities. The CFPB’s budgets fund an expected 1,214 full time equivalent employees in FY 2013 and 1,545 in FY 2014.
According to an American Banker report, Mr. Agostini was questioned about CFPB salaries, with Representative Sean Duffy, a Republican, pointing to data showing that the Fed’s top annual pay scale averaged $205,000 while the CFPB’s top scale averaged $259,000. Republican committee members also criticized the amount of funds slated to be spent on renovating the CFPB’s offices.
It was also reported that committee members from both parties raised concerns about the high rate of departures in CFPB leadership and that Republican committee members pointed to a survey of CFPB employees showing significant dissatisfaction with the training they were receiving from the CFPB.
A press release issued by the committee after the hearing indicates that other areas of concern reviewed during the hearing included the substantial dollar amount spent by the CFPB on travel by its employees and comments made in an independent audit indicating that the CFPB needs to strengthen its internal controls over travel expense approvals.