Washington, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) needs enough money, personnel and independence to carry out its mission and the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget shortchanges the agency on all three counts.
“This agency’s singular focus on making financial transactions honest and transparent is not a threat to the economy but an asset, and Congress and the administration should treat it as such,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon.
The administration’s budget proposal and the accompanying strategic vision plan for CFPB would weaken the agency’s ability to enforce consumer protection laws and let fraudulent financial practices go unchecked, Reardon said.
NTEU opposes the administration’s proposal to place the agency under the appropriations process starting in 2020. This would effectively make CFPB a taxpayer-funded agency, opening its funding up to the political process and violating the intention of lawmakers who passed the bill creating the agency.
“CFPB needs its independence to blunt the powerful financial institutions who don’t want to be held accountable by the men and women of CFPB that are committed to helping seniors, students, veterans and all Americans make sound financial decisions,” Reardon said.
The administration’s proposal would cap CFPB’s funding from the Federal Reserve at the agency’s 2015 level, or $485 million.
CFPB employees around the country are highly-skilled civil servants who have returned $12 billion to consumers mistreated by financial institutions over the last seven years. For example, CFPB caught one bank opening thousands of unauthorized customer accounts and imposed a $100 million civil penalty plus restitution to victims.
“Contrary to the allegation that the agency lacks humility, the lawyers, accountants, auditors and examiners at CFPB are humbled by their responsibility to stand up for regular Americans and defend them against powerful corporate interests,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments.