by Jeff Sovern
The CFPB has announced the new members of its Consumer Advisory Board: the new board has fewer members than the old one–meaning fewer viewpoints are represented–and the members will serve for shorter terms, making it harder for them to accumulate relevant experience with board service. I wonder if this is just an attempt to comply with the letter of the statute rather than to have an entity that provides advice that is actually useful and followed. Some of the former members commented on the CFPB action, and here is the first paragraph of the comment:
“We are disappointed that the current administration of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) chose to only appoint nine members to this new CAB. While each of the individual members is qualified in her or his own right, the fact that there are so few of them means that Acting Director Mulvaney’s CAB lacks sufficient diversity and depth of perspective. There are only 2 consumer advocates, whereas there were at least 8 advocates on the former 25 member CAB. Ironically, there are no large financial institutions, major credit card providers, or debt collectors on this new CAB. While these sectors probably have other opportunities for access with the CFPB, one of the most valuable aspects of the recently disbanded CAB was that it provided a forum for fruitful and productive conversations among a variety of stakeholders in consumer finance, which often generated valuable insights for the Bureau and the CAB members. This will be missing from the new CAB. The lack of a multitude of perspectives is ironic given that a stated reason for disbanding the former CAB was to increase the diversity of viewpoints on the Board.