CFPB 101: What Kathy Kraninger Needs To Know About External Engagements

The CFPB’s External Engagements Include Getting Public Feedback From Consumers And Stakeholders To Ensure Effective Consumer Protection.

The CFPB’s External Affairs Division Is Charged With Maintaining A “Robust Dialogue With Stakeholders And The Public” To Ensure “That The Bureau’s Work Is Informed By Diverse Perspectives.” 

The CFPB’s External Affairs Division “Ensures That The CFPB Maintains Robust Dialogue With Stakeholders And The Public” And “That The Bureau’s Work Is Informed By Diverse Perspectives.” The CFPB’s External Affairs division, currently led by Policy Associate Director Anthony Welcher and Associate Director Zixta Martinez, “ensures that the CFPB maintains robust dialogue with stakeholders and the public in order to promote understanding, transparency, and accountability, and to ensure that the Bureau’s work is informed by diverse perspectives.” The division has six offices: Communications, Legislative Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs, Financial Institutions & Business Liaison, Community Affairs, and Advisory Board and Councils. [External Affairs, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accessed 12/12/18]

External Engagements Include The CFPB’s Advisory Boards Of Experts And Stakeholders – Which Were Gutted By Mick Mulvaney.

Within External Affairs, The Office Of Advisory Board And Councils Oversees The CFPB’s Advisory Groups – Which Were Disbanded And Restructured Under Mick Mulvaney’s Leadership.

Within The External Affairs Division, The Office Of Advisory Board And Councils Oversees The CFPB’s Advisory Groups. Within the External Affairs division, “the Office of Advisory Board and Councils engages with various advisory groups comprised of academics, non-profit sector, financial institution, and business representatives to ensure that they are informed about and have an opportunity to impact the Bureau’s work.” [External Affairs, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accessed 12/12/18]

Mick Mulvaney Disbanded The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board And Fired Roughly 60 Members Of The Bureau’s Advisory Boards.

In June 2018, Mick Mulvaney Fired The Consumer Advisory Board’s “25 Volunteer Members […] Along With Roughly 35 Members Of Two Other Advisory Boards.” “Just as Mick Mulvaney fired members of a board that advises the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on consumer issues last month, the agency’s acting director was also taking steps to re-form the panel with less than a quarter of its sitting members. On June 5, Mulvaney signed an amended charter to reconstitute the consumer advisory board with only six members, according to a copy of the charter obtained by American Banker. A day later, the board’s 25 volunteer members were fired along with roughly 35 members of two other advisory boards. The board’s new amended charter states that the board ‘will have no formal decision-making role and no access to confidential supervisory or other confidential information.’” [Kate Berry, “CFPB advisory board 2.0: Far fewer members,” American Banker, 07/18/18]

The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Group Is Statutorily Mandated By The Dodd-Frank Act.

The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Group “Is Mandated By The Dodd-Frank Act.” “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fired all 25 members of the agency’s Consumer Advisory Board during a conference call Wednesday, saying it wanted to bring in more diverse views. […] The CFPB sent an email to the consumer board members stating that it would continue to convene a consumer advisory board, which is mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, but would reconstitute the group with ‘new, smaller memberships.’” [Kate Berry, “Mulvaney makes it official, fires CFPB advisory board members,” American Banker, 06/10/18]

External Engagements Are Under Threat

Under Mick Mulvaney’s Leadership, The CFPB Issued A Request For Information (RFI) On External Engagements, Inviting Industry Input On The Bureau’s Advisory Boards And Field Hearings.

Under Mick Mulvaney’s Leadership, The CFPB Issued A Request For Information (RFI) About The Bureau’s External Engagements, Including Field Hearings, Town Halls, Roundtables, And Advisory Board Meetings.

In February 2018, Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “Issued A Request For Information (RFI) About The Bureau’s External Engagements.” The RFI Sought Public Comments On The CFPB’s “Public And Non-Public External Engagements, Including But Not Limited To Field Hearings, Town Halls, Roundtables, And Meetings Of The Advisory Board And Councils.” On February 21, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “issued a Request for Information (RFI) about the Bureau’s external engagements.” It was “the fifth in a series of RFIs announced as part of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s call for evidence to ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions to best protect consumers.” [“CFPB Issues Request For Information On External Engagements,” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 02/21/18]

  • The RFI sought “comments and information from interested parties to assist the Bureau in assessing its public and non-public external engagements, including but not limited to field hearings, town halls, roundtables, and meetings of the Advisory Board and Councils.” [Request for Information Regarding Bureau External Engagements, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 02/21/18] 

Mick Mulvaney Fired All Members Of The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board, Cutting A Vital Resource For Public Input

Mick Mulvaney Fired Roughly 60 Members Of The Bureau’s Advisory Boards.

In June 2018, Mick Mulvaney Fired The Consumer Advisory Board’s “25 Volunteer Members […] Along With Roughly 35 Members Of Two Other Advisory Boards.” “Just as Mick Mulvaney fired members of a board that advises the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on consumer issues last month, the agency’s acting director was also taking steps to re-form the panel with less than a quarter of its sitting members. On June 5, Mulvaney signed an amended charter to reconstitute the consumer advisory board with only six members, according to a copy of the charter obtained by American Banker. A day later, the board’s 25 volunteer members were fired along with roughly 35 members of two other advisory boards. The board’s new amended charter states that the board ‘will have no formal decision-making role and no access to confidential supervisory or other confidential information.’” [Kate Berry, “CFPB advisory board 2.0: Far fewer members,” American Banker, 07/18/18] 

Mulvaney Disbanded The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board And Fired Its 25 Members. 

In June 2018, Mick Mulvaney Disbanded The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board, Firing All 25 Members.“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fired all 25 members of the agency’s Consumer Advisory Board during a conference call Wednesday, saying it wanted to bring in more diverse views. Anthony Welcher, a political appointee and the CFPB’s policy advisory for external affairs, told consumer advisory members during a brief call that the agency would be modifying how the board works.” [Kate Berry, “Mulvaney makes it official, fires CFPB advisory board members,” American Banker, 06/10/18]

  • “CAB members have expressed concern with more than just refusing to meet, but the entire strategic direction of the CFPB. Since taking over last November as acting director, Mulvaney has overseen efforts to sideline enforcement, undermine the offices of fair lending and student loan enforcement through restructuring, sought to delay a major rule governing payday lenders, and temporarily freeze consumer complaint data collection. The CAB was not consulted on any of these changes.” [David Dayen, “Mick Mulvaney Is Required By Law To Meet With His Consumer Advisor Board. But He’s Refusing, Board Members Say,” The Intercept, 06/04/18] 

A Month After Disbanding The Consumer Advisory Board, Mulvaney Reconstituted The Consumer Advisory Board With Only Six Members. 

In July 2018, After Firing Roughly 60 Members Of Three Different Advisory Boards, Mick Mulvaney Reconstituted The Consumer Advisory Board With Only Six Members. “Just as Mick Mulvaney fired members of a board that advises the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on consumer issues last month, the agency’s acting director was also taking steps to re-form the panel with less than a quarter of its sitting members. On June 5, Mulvaney signed an amended charter to reconstitute the consumer advisory board with only six members, according to a copy of the charter obtained by American Banker. A day later, the board’s 25 volunteer members were fired along with roughly 35 members of two other advisory boards. The board’s new amended charter states that the board ‘will have no formal decision-making role and no access to confidential supervisory or other confidential information.’ The document also indicates that the amended charter was filed on June 20 with the Senate Banking Committee, the House Financial Services Committee, the General Services Administration and the Library of Congress. The advisory board was originally created under the Dodd-Frank Act.” [Kate Berry, “CFPB advisory board 2.0: Far fewer members,” American Banker, 07/18/18]

Kathy Kraninger Seems Poised To Carry On On Mick Mulvaney’s Legacy At The CFPB

Kathy Kraninger Supports Mick Mulvaney’s Actions As Acting CFPB Director.

During Her Confirmation Hearing, Kathy Kraninger Said That Mick Mulvaney Was Doing A Good Job At The CFPB And “Couldn’t Point To Any Actions He’d Taken With Which She Disagreed.” “Kraninger, 43, has been a deputy of Mulvaney at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She told senators at her confirmation hearing this summer that Mulvaney was doing a good job at the CFPB, and in written responses to questions later that she couldn’t point to any actions he’d taken with which she disagreed.” [Jim Puzzanghera, “Senate confirms new consumer financial protection chief: Kathy Kraninger, protege of industry-friendly Mick Mulvaney,” Los Angeles Times, 12/06/18]

Kraninger Has Said She Is Willing To Alter The Structure Of The CFPB. 

During Her Confirmation Hearing, Kathy Kraninger SaidShe Is “Very Open” To Structural Changes To The CFPB.Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)asked: “Doyou or do you not share Director Mulvaney’s view that this is an agency that’s sort of, unlike anyone, with great power and no accountability, and that that’s not good for any area of government?”Kraninger responded: “Clearly, Senator, the Congress through Dodd-Frank Act, gave the Bureau incredible powers and — and incredible independence from both the President and — and the Congress in its structure. I have noted that my focus is on running the agency as Congress established it. But certainly working with members of Congress, I’m — I’m very open to changes in that, you know, in that structure that will make the agency more accountable and more transparent.” [Testimony of Kathleen Kraninger, “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Export-Import Bank Confirmations,“ Hearing of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]

Rhetoric Vs. Reality: Correcting The Record On External Engagements

RHETORIC: CFPB Meetings And Hearings Are Not Transparent Enough.

In March 2014, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) Called For The CFPB “To End The Bureau’s Closed-Door Meeting Policy For Its Four Advisory Councils.”According to Hensarling, “four advisory groups created by the CFPB conduct virtually all of their business behind closed doors – refusing requests by members of the public and even a member of Congress to attend them. The meetings are also closed to the press.” [Press Release, House Financial Services Committee, 03/17/14]

REALITY: Meeting Materials From All CFPB Advisory Groups Were Available Online To The PublicPrior to Mulvaney’s Changes.

As Of May 1, 2018, Meeting Materials For All Four CFPB Advisory Groups, Including Minutes, Agendas, And Videos, Were Available Online, Dating Back To 2012.[“Advisory Groups,” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau via Internet Archive Wayback Machine, archived 05/01/18]

  • Web pages for the CFPB’s advisory groups have since been removed. [Advisory Groups, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accessed 12/12/18]

RHETORIC: Consumer Advisory Group Members Were “Wined And Dined” At Taxpayer Expense.

Mulvaney’s Spokesperson Believes That The Consumer Advisory Board Cared More About Living Large Than Protecting Consumers.A Mulvaney spokesperson said members of the Consumer Advisory Board seemed to care more about taking taxpayer-funded trips and being “wined and dined” at taxpayer expense than they did about consumers. [Kate Berry, “Mulvaney makes it official, fires CFPB advisory board members,” American Banker, 06/06/18]

REALITY: The Consumer Advisory Board Was Roughing It Compared To The Luxury Trips Mick Mulvaney Took While In Congress.

The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board Was Roughing It Compared To The Luxury Trips Mick Mulvaney Took. Industry and interest groups have paid for Mick Mulvaney to stay at hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, The Greenbrier, The Four Seasons, and a resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. By contrast, a member of the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board tweeted that she stayed in Hampton Inn hotels and flew economy airfare to meetings. She also noted that she paid for her own alcohol at these events, per CFPB policy. [Mick Mulvaney Member/Officer Post-Travel Disclosure Form, US House of Representatives, 04/01/11; Mick Mulvaney Member/Officer Post-Travel Disclosure Form, US House of Representatives, 10/19/11; Mick Mulvaney Member/Officer Post-Travel Disclosure Form, US House of Representatives, 03/30/12; Mick Mulvaney Member/Officer Post-Travel Disclosure Form, US House of Representatives, 08/29/12; Chi Chi Wu Tweet, Twitter, 06/06/18]

REALITY: Some CAB Members Had Been Willing To Pay Their Own Way For Meetings

Some Members Of The Advisory Boards Said They Were Willing To Pay Their Own Way For Meetings, But The CFPB Never Raised The Issue. “On the conference call Wednesday, members of two other groups, the Community Bank Advisory Council and the Credit Union Advisory Council, said they were willing to pay their own way for meetings, but the CFPB said that was not being considered.” [Kate Berry, “Mulvaney makes it official, fires CFPB advisory board members,” American Banker, 06/06/18]

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