CFPB to Retool Advisory Councils; Dismisses Current Members

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today that it will relaunch its processes for collecting public feedback. The changes come after receiving feedback from the American Bankers Association and others in response to the bureau’s recent request for information on its external affairs process. “The comments we received informed our shift to expand external engagements and modify our Advisory Board and Councils to be one focused tool in the evaluative process,” the bureau said in a blog post.

As part of this process, the CFPB today dismissed all members of the bureau’s advisory boards and councils, including its community bank and credit union councils and the Consumer Advisory Board, which is mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to meet twice a year. The bureau will select new members through the current application cycle, for which applications were due in April. All three bodies will be smaller, the CFPB said.

The bureau also said it “will increase its strategic outreach to encourage in-depth conversations, sharing information, and developing partnerships focused on consumers in underserved communities and geographies,” including “regional town halls, roundtable discussions at the bureau’s headquarters with consumer finance experts and representatives, regional roundtables and regular national calls.”

In a comment letter last month, ABA and 51 state bankers associations urged the bureau to engage stakeholders early in the rulemaking process and to communicate with external stakeholders in a way that seeks meaningful feedback rather than simply reporting on CFPB activities. The associations also urged the bureau to improve its outreach to community financial institutions since it does not supervise them but does issue rules that apply to them.