‘External engagements’ – including bureau advisory groups, town halls – latest call for ‘evidence’

“External engagements” is the topic for the fifth of an expected 12 “requests for information” issued Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), focusing on ways the bureau engages and receives feedback from the public on the agency’s work.

The information request is being issued with a 90-day comment period.

The fifth RFI comes in as many weeks since the agency’s Acting Director Mick Mulvaney announced a “call for evidence” about how CFPB fulfills is functions.

In its filings with the Federal Register (with publication expected as early as Thursday), CFPB said it is looking for comments in seven areas of conducting future external engagements:

  • Strategies for seeking public and private feedback from diverse external stakeholders on the bureau’s work;
  • Structures for convening diverse external stakeholders and the public to discuss bureau work in ways that maximize public participation and constructive input, including but not limited to structures utilized by the bureau to date, such as field hearings, town halls, roundtables, and meetings of the advisory groups;
  • Processes for transparency in determining topics, locations, timing, frequency, participants, and other important elements of both public and private events;
  • Vehicles for soliciting public and private perspectives from outside of Washington, D.C. on the bureau’s work;
  • Strategies for promoting transparency of external engagements, including Advisory Board and Council meetings, while protecting confidential business information and encouraging frank dialogue;
  • Strategies and channels for distributing information about external engagements to maximize awareness and participation; and
  • Other approaches, methods, or practices not currently utilized by the bureau that would elicit constructive input on the bureau’s work.

The bureau noted in its filings that its practice to date has been to hold field hearings, town halls, roundtables, and meetings of its Advisory Board and Councils to engage the public and gather input. To that end, the bureau noted, it has held (to date) 33 field hearings and 15 town halls in more than 40 cities, and conducted 47 public meetings of four advisory groups (the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB); the Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC); the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC); and the Academic Research Council (ARC)).

In a release, CFPB said its next RFI (to be issued next week for the sixth straight week) will focus on the agency’s complaint reporting processes. Six more RFIs are anticipated after that.

CFPB Issues Request For Information On External Engagements