Can the CFPB be fixed?

by Ryan Smith04 Sep 2014
A trio of bills intended to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would increase direct spending by about $9 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But is the proposed legislation enough to fix an agency plagued with problems?

The House Financial Services Committee introduced the bills in June, according to the CFBB Monitor. The bills are intended to bring more transparency and oversight to the agency, which many lawmakers consider too unaccountable.

The CFPB Advisory Commission Transparency Act would require any advisory committees established by the agency to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. That means, among other requirements, that the CFPB would have to open its advisory council meetings to the public. According to the CBO, the bill would increase direct spending by $1 million over the 2015-2024 period.

The Ensuring Harmed Customers Receive Compensation Act would limit payments from the CFPB’s Consumer Financial Civil Penalty Fund to victims of the violations that resulted in the penalties. Right now, if funds remain after the CFPB has provided compensation to eligible victims, the agency can use the surplus to fund consumer education and financial literacy programs. The CBO estimates that bill would reduce direct spending by $8 million between 2015 and 2024.

But the next bill will erase that reduction by increasing spending by $8 million. The CFPB Transparency Act would require the agency to make public any data and analysis used to produce research papers.

The spending increase the CBO predicts is really a drop in the bucket in the world of government expenditures. But is it enough? Considering the problems plaguing the agency, does more need to be done? Or should the agency be disbanded and replaced with something new? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
 

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