New York announces agency to fill CFPB 'void'

by Ryan Smith01 May 2019

The state of New York has fulfilled a promise it made more than a year ago, launching its own version of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to counteract what New York officials say is the national CFPB’s abdication of its duties to consumers.

Acting New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell announced Tuesday that Katherine A. Lemire had been appointed as executive deputy superintendent of the DFS’ new Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division. The new division combines the previously separate Enforcement and Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection divisions.

“As a highly respected and experienced prosecutor, compliance and regulatory professional, Katie is well-positioned to successfully marshal the extensive resources of the department’s Enforcement and Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection divisions to deliver real results for New Yorkers,” Lacewell said. “DFS’s new Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division will be a powerhouse, and Katie’s knowledge and skillset will greatly strengthen the department’s mandate to guard against financial crises and to protect consumers and markets from fraud.”

The state first announced its intent to create the new division in January 2018, following what it called the CFPB’s “troublesome policy shift away from consumer protection” under then-Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

“Since its founding, the CFPB has been a strong and vital partner with the New York State Department of Financial Services and state regulators nationwide on many important consumer protection issues,” then-DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said at the time. “I am disappointed by the new administration’s sudden policy shift, which is clearly intended to undermine necessary national financial-services regulation and enforcement.”

Vullo said that despite the CFPB’s shift toward a more business-friendly stance, the DFS would continue to “take action to fill the increasing number of regulatory voids created by the federal government.”