Senate grills Cordray on lack of transparency

by Ryan Smith13 Nov 2013

Senators grilled the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday on the agency’s perceived lack of transparency.

During a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) asked CFPB Director Richard Cordray to respond to a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center that the agency regularly held closed-door sessions that should have been public or failed to provide notice for public meetings. The report also noted that the CFPB didn’t release new regulations in a consistent way, according to the Credit Union Times.  

“Criticism has been expressed about the selective manner in which the CFPB releases its regulations and guidance,” the report said.

““I do think there is some merit in what they said,” Cordray told the committee Wednesday. “I think that some of it was overstated in one direction but I think it’s something that’s important for us to think about and respond to, not just verbally at a hearing but think about it in our work.”

But Cordray was defensive of the CFPB’s rule-making policies, the Credit Union Times reported.

“On rulemakings, we’ve been very open and accessible,” he said. “In a lot of other areas, where we’re not required to do so, we have made a point to be open and accessible.”

Cordray also went on the defensive later in the hearing, when Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) asked why the CFPB needed a $95 million building.

Cordray stressed that the CFPB did not own the building, which is undergoing extensive renovations, and said that he “would rather not spend a penny on it.”

“It has systems that have outlived their useful life, including key systems like HVAC and electrical that apparently have to be brought up to snuff,” Cordray said. “The (earlier) $55 million figure was not an estimate of what that would cost, but it was an initial budget number for the first year of what we saw as a multi-year project -- and we don’t yet know exactly what it will cost.

“It’s not going to be our building. It’s not like we’re building some palace,” Cordray added.



Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?