Who Is Jeffrey Joseph, CFPB Critic?

by Jeff Sovern

Last month, Jeffrey Joseph posted Tyrannical CFPB tarnishes July 4th holiday in The Hill. Well, ok; others have so claimed, including House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling. Joseph is described at the end of the op-ed only as "a business professor at the George Washington University School of Business."  I was curious to see what Professor Joseph's background was, so I went to the GW web site. But I couldn't find his bio there.  It seems that GW posts only the bios of full-time professors, and not adjuncts.  Adjuncts provide valuable instruction, but often an adjunct professor has another affiliation which is full-time and considered of greater significance than a part-time teaching gig, and so more worthy of listing in an op-ed.  Perhaps Professor Joseph doesn't (he could be retired or independently wealthy, for example). In most cases, this wouldn't matter, because if Professor Joseph's arguments are well-taken, his background is irrelevant; it's the argument that counts, after all.  But the text of Professor Joseph's op-ed has been challenged.  For example, after Professor Joseph described the Center for Responsible Lending as having "expressed concern about the {CFPB's] dictatorial leadership structure," CRL head Michael Calhoun posted his own op-ed in The Hill, CFPB protects Americans from predatory loan sharks, accusing Joseph as having taken Calhoun's words out of context and mischaracterizing them.  Calhoun also pointed out that Joseph discussed the PHH panel decision without noting that it has been vacated by the D.C. Circuit. Along the way, Calhoun effectively defends the CFPB from the current attacks on it.

As Joseph's title implies, much of his piece is taken up by the CFPB's structure, but he also uses the CFPB's payday regulation as his only example, of, as he puts it "the CFPB’s judicious rulemaking which has carried billions of dollars in costs. Take payday loans: The CFPB now requires payday lenders—the issuers of short-term loans to low-income borrowers—to verify a borrower’s income, major financial obligations, and borrowing history before issuing any loan." Except that, unless I have missed something, the CFPB has not actually issued a payday rule.  True, it has proposed one, but until the Bureau issues its rule, we won't know what its effect will be.

I still wonder what Joseph's background is. 

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