Late last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the appointment of new members to the Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, and Credit Union Advisory Council. The purpose of all three bodies is to provide advice to CFPB leadership on a broad range of consumer financial issues and emerging market trends.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act charges the CFPB with establishing a Consumer Advisory Board to advise and consult with the Bureau’s Director on a variety of consumer financial issues. The Bureau has also created advisory councils specifically related to community banks and credit unions. In January 2015, the CFPB issued a Federal Register Notice outlining the responsibilities of the advisory board and councils, as well as the duties of its members, and solicited applications for appointment.

New members to the Consumer Advisory Board will serve three-year terms and new members to the Community Bank and Credit Union Advisory Councils will serve two-year terms. The following are the new apppointments:

Consumer Advisory Board Members:

    • Seema M. Agnani, Director of Policy and Civic Engagement, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, Washington, D.C.
    • Sylvia A. Alvarez, Executive Director, Housing & Education Alliance, Tampa, Fla.
    • Tim Chen, Chief Executive Officer, NerdWallet, San Francisco, Calif.
    • Kathleen C. Engel, Research Professor, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Mass.
    • Judith L. Fox, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.
    • Neil F. Hall, Executive Vice President, PNC Financial Services Group, Pittsburgh, Pa.
    • Dr. Raul A. Hinojosa-Ojeda, Associate Professor, University of California Los Angeles Division of Social Sciences, Los Angeles, Calif.
    • Brian D. Hughes, Senior Vice President of Card Marketing, Discover Financial Services, Deerfield, Ill.
    • Christopher G. Kukla, Senior Vice President, Center for Responsible Lending, Durham, N.C.
    • Max R. Levchin, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Affirm, San Francisco, Calif.
    • Phaedra B. Robinson, Executive Director, Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi, Richland, Miss.
    • Joshua Zinner, Co-Director, New Economy Project, New York, N.Y.

Community Bank Advisory Council Members:

    • Jonathan T. Allen, Chief Compliance Officer, Bank of American Fork, American Fork, Utah
    • Kathleen J. Cook, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Village Bank, Saint Libory, Ill.
    • Julia R. DeBery, Senior Vice President, Internal Audit and Risk Management, Bath Savings Institution, Bath, Maine
    • Jack E. Hopkins , President and Chief Executive Officer, CorTrust Bank, Sioux Falls, S.D.
    • Ricardo ‘Ricky’ D. Leal, Community Lender and Senior Vice President, First Community Bank, N.A.,  Harlingen, Texas
    • Cara L. Quick, Vice President of Compliance, First Hope Bank, N.A., Hope, N.J.
    • Thomas E. Spitz, Chief Executive Officer, Settlers Bank, Windsor, Wis.
    • Yee Phong (Alan) Thian, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Business Bank, Arcadia, Calif.
    • Samuel Vallandingham, President and Chief Executive Officer, First State Bank, Barboursville, W.Va.

Credit Union Advisory Council Members:

    • Gail L. DeBoer , President and Chief Executive Officer, SAC Federal Credit Union, Papillion, Neb.
    • Robert C. Donley, Executive Vice President, Members Credit Union, Winston-Salem, N.C.
    • Gregory W. Higgins , Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Wings Financial Credit Union, Saint Paul, Minn.
    • Maria A. LaVelle, Chief Executive Officer, Westmoreland Community Federal Credit Union, Greensburg, Pa.
    • Carrie L. O’Connor, Senior Vice President, Lending and Operations, Community America Credit Union, Shawnee Mission, Kan.
    • Thomas J. O’Shea, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aspire Federal Credit Union, Clark, N.J.
    • Katey Proefke – Assistant Vice President of Compliance, Chevron Federal Credit Union, Oakland, Calif.
    • James E. Spradlin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Park Community Credit Union, Louisville, Ky.


insideARM Perspective

When new CAB members were announced last year at this time, the list included a member of the ARM community, Joann Needleman — the current NARCA president and now practice leader of Clark Hill’s Consumer Financial Services Regulatory & Compliance group. To date, Joann is the only representative from the professional debt collection industry to hold a seat at the table.

I discussed the new appointments with Joann this morning; she offered insight into the choices, suggesting that the make up of the CAB tends to be indicative of the Bureau’s latest area of focus. “When the CAB started, it was all housing,” she noted. “The fact that there are two banks represented [in this new group] is telling.” She said that the Bureau is looking at banks in unique ways, as opposed to the prudential regulators, who focused primarily on safety and soundness. The CFPB is the first regulator looking into how banks affect consumers on a different level.

It’s also interesting that they’ve added NerdWallet and Affirm. Joann added, “It’s clear that the CFPB is struggling with technology and where it fits with consumer protection.”

There has been controversy over the private nature of the meetings of these groups. Historically, a section of the meeting has been open to the public and the press. Although it has provided an opportunity for outsiders to go on the record with comments, the session has been largely scripted, and it’s unclear how much true “advising” has occurred. The balance of the sessions have been closed, likely producing a greater degree of candor among the members. Some have cried foul on the secret sessions, and in April the House of Representatives passed the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparancy Act, or HR 1265. This Bill was delivered to the Senate in April and has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. 

The Bill’s sponsor is Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R-Wisconsin), who has been an outspoken critic of the CFPB. Most recently last week, speaking to the National Association of Federal Credit Unions’ Congressional Caucus, Duffy said that Congress has too little insight or oversight into what federal regulators are doing in the financial services space, and he welcomes hearing about examples.

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