Bureau seeks continuation of councils/board, as action in Congress looms

Advisory boards and councils for the CFPB – representing community banks, credit unions, consumers and researchers – would be continued under notices to be published Thursday by the agency, despite proposed legislation likely to emerge from Congress soon eliminating at least one of the groups.

In required notices scheduled for publication in the Feb. 23 Federal Register, the consumer agency stated it is seeking the re-establishment of charters for the Community Banker Advisory Council, the Credit Union Advisory Council, the Consumer Advisory Board and the Academic Research Council, with each having a charter lasting for two years “after the filing date unless renewed by appropriate action.”

However, in a Feb. 6 memo signed by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) outlining changes to his proposed Financial CHOICE Act in the 115th Congress, the repeal of “mandatory advisory boards” is listed as a restriction on the authority of the CFPB. The revamped Financial CHOICE Act is expected to be introduced soon (perhaps as early as next week, when Congress returns from his current break).

The research, banker and credit union councils are all proposed to be re-established “no less than 15 days after the publication of this notice,” according to the CFPB filing. The consumer board on the other hand, according to the CFPB filing, is re-established “effective immediately.”

The difference for the consumer board is that its establishment is mandated under section 1014(a) Dodd-Frank Act, as noted in the agency filing. CFPB pointed out that the law mandates that the function of the board is to “advise and consult with the Bureau in the exercise of its functions under the Federal consumer financial laws” and “provide information on emerging practices in the consumer financial products or services industry, including regional trends, concerns, and other relevant information.”

The three other councils are established by CFPB to provide “advice and feedback” to the agency, according to the filing. In each notice, the bureau points out that “the duties of the Council are solely advisory and shall extend only to the submission of advice and recommendations to the Bureau. No determination of fact or policy will be made by the Council, and the Council will have no formal decision-making role.”

The banker council, CFPB stated, is to consult with the bureau “in the exercise of its functions under the federal consumer financial laws as they pertain to community banks with total assets of $10 billion or less.” The credit union council has a similar charge, providing consultation about the impact of consumer laws on credit unions with $10 billion or less in assets. The research council is charged with providing CFPB’s research office with “advice and feedback on research methodologies, framing research questions, data collection, and analytic strategies.”

In addition to publishing the notices in the Register, CFPB is also required to file the charters for the groups with Bureau Director Richard Cordray and the committee management secretariat of the General Services Administration. CFBP is also required to furnish the charter to the Library of Congress and the on Senate Banking and Hensarling’s House Financial Services Committee.

Notice: Establishment of Academic Research Council

Notice: Establishment of Community Banker Advisory Council

Notice: Establishment of Consumer Advisory Board

Notice: Establishment of Credit Union Advisory Council