The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last week announced the formal launch of the Office of Financial Empowerment, the main goal of which is to “help empower consumers to better understand how different financial choices and products impact their financial lives.”
The Office of Financial Empowerment, housed within CFPB’s Division of Consumer Education and Engagement, will be focusing primarily on lower-income and traditionally underserved consumers. CFPB Director Richard Cordray recently held a conference call with the office’s new associate director, Cliff Rosenthal, to formally launch the unit.
“The [CFPB]’s resources and focus on consumer protection and empowerment place it in a unique position,” said Rosenthal. “We’ll use that position to develop tools for consumers and those who serve them, spotlight innovation and best practices, and engage with consumers who haven’t been well-served by their financial products.”
Back in May, when Rosenthal came on board to spearhead the launch of the office, he wrote that the goals of the Office of Financial Empowerment were to:
- Pursue program and policy initiatives that serve lower-income and traditionally underserved consumers;
- Address the consumer finance challenges they face to accessing transactional services, savings, and credit;
- Enable consumer friendly innovations that seek to meet their needs and that also promote financial capability;
- Research, identify, spotlight, and promote the development of promising and effective practices that empower consumers and positively influence their financial decision-making;
- Provide consumers with information and opportunities to improve their financial stability and build assets; and,
- Engage with the public on targeted consumer finance issues as they relate to the underserved.
Rosenthal also noted that the new unit will continue some of the work of the Division of Consumer Education and Engagement, highlighting certain consumer-facing initiatives like the Ask CFPB online tool (the launch of which we covered on insideARM.com).