WASHINGTON (11/23/15)--The current sole-director structure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) jeopardizes the bureau’s foundation as an objective, neutral consumer protection agency, CUNA and its partners told members of the U.S. Congress last week. CUNA and the other organizations wrote in support of the Financial Product Safety Commission Act (H.R. 1266), asking for it to be includes in the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill.
“This common-sense, bipartisan policy would create a five-member board at the CFPB, is fully paid for over the next ten years, and provides a smooth transition process that provides continuity of leadership at the Bureau,” the letter reads. “Looking ahead, the current sole director structure at the CFPB jeopardizes the foundation of the Bureau as an objective, neutral consumer protection agency. A commission would serve as a source of balance and stability for consumers and the financial services industry by encouraging internal debate and deliberation, ultimately leading to increased transparency.”
The letter adds that a bipartisan board would allow the CFPB’s processes to be more effective in protecting consumers, while allowing input from “multiple leaders with diverse experiences and expertise.”
In December 2009, the House passed legislation that would have created a five-member commission to oversee the CFPB, led by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barney Frank, who was then chair of the House Financial Services Committee, with 223 Democrats voting in favor of the measure.
“A commission is the traditional and customary structure for independent federal agencies, helping to ensure bipartisanship and impartiality,” the letter reads. “Overall, the CFPB has tremendous authority to supervise a multi-trillion dollar industry…as such, it is imperative the CFPB’s governance structure is stable, deliberative and bipartisan -- for the sake of the American consumer and the U.S. economy.”
More than organizations joined CUNA in signing the letter, which was sent to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mo.), chair of the senate appropriations committee; Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), chair of the Senate Appropriations financial services and general government subcommittee; Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee; and Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), chair of the House Appropriations financial services and general government subcommittee.