CFPB Announces ‘Enhancements’ to Advisory Committee Charters

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Thursday that it will be “enhancing” its charters concerning advisory committees, which provide information to the bureau on a number of different business sectors that the agency oversees.

“I’ve seen first-hand how the Bureau benefits from the valuable input provided by committee members. I have also seen how the joint committee meeting is resulting in members sharpening their ideas by engaging in a thorough dialogue,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger, in a press release announcing these changes. “These enhancements demonstrate my commitment to ensuring that the Bureau’s advisory committees are helping to improve our work on behalf of consumers.”

The current makeup of the advisory committee program includes the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), Academic Research Council (ARC, which is also being promoted to a Director-level committee), Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC), and Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC). Starting in the 2020 fiscal year, which begins this coming October, the committees will expand their collective focus to broader matters of policy.

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The frequency of in-person meetings will also increase from two times a year to three times a year, while the CAB, CBAC, and CUAC will continue their joint public meetings.

Membership terms for the committees, which are currently for durations of one-year, will also be increased to two-year terms and staggered. All existing members’ current one-year terms expire in September 2019, and a one-year term extension will be provided to half of the current members in order to both achieve the staggered terms, and “ensure continuity,” according to the press release.

The CFPB also announced that it will begin accepting applications for members to serve on its advisory committees for a period of 45 days, beginning with a notice that will be published in the Federal Register.

Early last summer, then-acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney fired all the members of the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board, reportedly as a cost-saving measure and to “streamline” their memberships. The intent at the time was to “reconstitute” the CAB at a later date. The following September, the agency announced a new Consumer Advisory Board, which operated under the existing conditions of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The changes announced today mark an increase in more general activity by the CFPB under Director Kraninger’s leadership, who recently appeared before the House Financial Services Committee and outlined her intention to emphasize the efforts of future enforcement actions on companies who have no intention of complying with the law.

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