Friday, October 21, 2011

House Financial Services Committee Reiterates that Bi-Partisan Commission Form of Governance Would Enhance CFPB

In a statement released on October 21, 2011, the House Financial Services Committee re-emphasized its position that changing the form of governance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from a single Director to a bi-partisan Commission would make the CFPB more accountable, replicate the structure of other federal agencies charged with consumer or investor protection, and promote continuity and predictability in rulemaking. Virtually all independent agencies are led by bipartisan panels rather than a single director noted the Committee, adding that these agencies were established with bipartisan Commissions to ensure their regulations are fair, consistent and balanced, and to promote certainty and continuity. With a single director model, reasoned the Committee, decisions and policies set by the director can be quickly and unilaterally reversed by a new director whenever there is a change in the CFPB’s leadership.

Legislation to place the CFPB under the management of a bipartisan commission was introduced by Committee Chair Spencer Bachus (R-ALA) earlier this year and then incorporated into legislation sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy that passed the House of Representatives in July by a vote of 241-173. The Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act, H.R. 1315, would establish a bi-partisan, five-member Commission consisting of a chair and four additional members to carry out all of the duties that would otherwise fall to the Director of the CFPB. Commission members would be appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and would serve five-year terms.