CFPB Creates Oversight Office to Deal with Congressional Probes

Jul 22, 2022Federal Regulation, News

A recent internal memo authored by Deputy CFPB Director Zixta Q. Martinez revealed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is creating a new Office of Oversight to manage an expected increase in inquiries from Republican lawmakers, in anticipation that Republicans might gain a majority in the House of Representatives in November. In the memo, Martinez announced that the Bureau is ramping up hiring for the new office, while the current legal division staff will remain in the litigation office.

“Right now signs point to increased oversight activity in the coming years,” Martinez wrote in the memo, according to American Banker. “Adding a group of staff dedicated to responding to these sorts of oversight inquiries will ensure staff can remain focused on their work while CFPB remains responsive to our oversight responsibilities.”

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra is dealing with pushback from Republican lawmakers, who have said they will investigate Chopra after he announced a bank merger policy last year with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) without the support of then-Chair Jelena McWilliams. McWilliams resigned from the FDIC in February, claiming the Democratic majority threatened her leadership.

Chopra is also receiving pushback from banks and other businesses after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched an ad campaign alleging that he “has no accountability” and is involved in a “radical agenda and reckless approach.”

The Bureau is merging two student loan offices that were separated in 2019 under former Trump-appointed director Kathy Kraninger. Chopra and Seth Frotman, who serves as the CFPB’s General Counsel, have both previously served as student loan ombudsman for the CFPB.

The role is being consolidated to a team devoted to students, with the student lending office being renamed the Office for Student and Young Consumers.

“Our approach to this population needs to be as well-coordinated and efficient as possible,” Martinez wrote.

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