Acting CFPB Director Outlines Vision for Division of Consumer Education and External Affairs
Earlier this month, acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Dave Uejio met with the Division of Consumer Education and External Affairs (CEEA) to highlight his expectations for ensuring that consumer voices are heard at every level of the CFPB.
“Protecting economically vulnerable consumers is core to the mission of the CFPB and one of the reasons the agency was created,” Uejio wrote in his directions to the CEEA. “Moving forward CEEA should redouble its efforts to ensure the Bureau engages all consumers who are economically suffering.”
Uejio emphasized the importance of continuing to aid populations suffering from the pandemic, including National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, college students and recent graduates, and elderly populations in nursing homes. He also expressed that “persistent and pernicious racial inequality continues to compound these problems exponentially for Black and Brown people.”
One of Uejio’s main priorities in ensuring that consumers who submit complaints receive timely responses and relief. He has asked Consumer Response to compile a report of companies that have been found to have disparities in their responses to Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
“Consumer complaints are our lifeblood; our direct connection to consumers in distress, and they are at an all-time high right now,” he wrote. “It is the Bureau’s expectation that companies provide substantive responses that address the issues consumers describe in their complaints.”
Additionally, to help consumers understand the housing protections available to them, Uejio asked the CEEA to target resources to reach struggling homeowners, drive coordination with other agencies, and help consumers access HUD-approved housing counseling organizations. He has also directed the division to re-orient their website and social media presence, as well as re-establish relations with consumer and civil rights groups to reaffirm that the Bureau is on their side.
“The Bureau must transition from treating consumer input as mere anecdotes or stories to a world in which the experience of our neighbors, our families, and our communities serve as crucial data that drives our policymaking. I rely on CEEA to spearhead these efforts and have great confidence that they will deliver,” Uejio concluded.