Mulvaney dissolves consumer advisory board

After canceling multiple meetings with its consumer advisory board, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection bureau has dismissed all 25 CAB members, essentially dissolving the board.

After canceling multiple meetings with its consumer advisory board, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection bureau has dismissed all 25 CAB members, essentially dissolving the board.

In a conference call Wednesday morning, CAB members were told the bureau wanted more diverse contributors by Anthony Welcher, a political appointee and the CFPB’s policy advisory for external affairs.

“We’ve decided we’re going to start the advisory groups with new membership, to bring in these new perspectives and new dialogue,” Welcher said, according to American Banker. “We want more diverse voices and we want to bring people in from larger-scale organizations, larger-scale opportunities in the communities to hear about processes we may be going through.”

Mick Mulvaney had cancelled three in-person meetings with the CAB this year. He is required by section 1014 of the Dodd-Frank Act to meet with the CAB at least twice a year. He also cut short a telephone call with CAB members, according to a May 25 letter cosigned by 15 CAB members including CAB Chair Ann Baddour.

The CFPB will meet all requirements for yearly meetings, the bureau said in a statement, and Mulvaney has just under seven months to do so. The CAB is mandated by section 1014 to “advise and consult with the bureau in the exercise of its functions.”

The CFPB will recreate the board with newer, smaller memberships, ensuring “streamlined discussions about the Bureau’s policy priorities and needs in a productive manner,” the agency said in an email sent to CAB members. The bureau also reduced members’ terms to one year from three years.

CAB members and those of two other agency boards, the community bank advisory board and the credit Union advisory board, were terminated and are not allowed to re-apply, the CFPB said (only the CAB is mandated by Dodd-Frank).

“Firing the current CAB members is another move indicating Acting Director Mick Mulvaney is only interested in obtaining views from his inner circle, and has no interest in hearing the perspectives of those who work with struggling American families,” Baddour said in a statement.

The bureau characterized the dissolution as a cost-saving measure. Former CAB members could continue to weigh in on consumer financial issues, Welcher said, but “we’re not necessarily going to be paying for your travel to have that conversation.”