The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had a fitting announcement for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: the creation of the Bureau’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
The OMWI officially opens Jan. 20, 2012 – the deadline mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act – and does not yet have a director.
An OMWI working group includes staff members whose job it will be to “ensure the integration of the OMWI mission throughout the Bureau from day one,” according to the CFPB blog. The members of the group are: Patrice Ficklin, assistant director for the Office of Fair Lending & Equal Opportunity; Zixta Martinez, assistant director for the Office of Community Affairs; and Dennis Slagter, assistant director of Human Capital.
Dodd-Frank requires the establishment of an OMWI not only at the CFPB, but also within each of the other financial services regulatory agencies: within the Departmental Offices of the Department of Treasury, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, each of the Federal Reserve Banks, the Federal Reserve Board, the National Credit Union Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (The SEC just announced its newly hired OMWI director on Jan. 4; others – such as the Fed – have been naming existing staff members to lead the efforts.)
Each office will be led by a director who is appointed by, and reports to, the agency head. The CFPB accepted applications for its OMWI director role through Dec. 30, 2011 – a position that pays a salary of $160,000 to $235,000 per year, according to the job announcement.
The law requires four primary duties of each OMWI:
- Develop and implement workforce diversity standards;
- Submit an annual report to Congress regarding the actions taken by the agency, including the percent of contract expenditures that went to minority- and women-owned businesses;
- Advise the agency head on the impact of policies and regulations of their agencies on minority- and women-owned businesses; and
- Implement staff recruiting efforts, internships and partnerships targeted toward minorities and women.
The NCUA’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, for example, has begun its work by adding two questions to the fourth quarter call report documents. They asked each federally insured credit union whether its current, and potential, membership base and management team was comprised of more than 50 percent minorities.
At the Treasury, the OMWI’s focus has been on contracting with women-owned and economically disadvantaged small businesses. “This effort led to a landmark achievement,” said Dr. Lorraine Cole, director of the Treasury’s OMWI. She noted that the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, has offered significant opportunity for hiring women- and minority-owned firms. Read more in the Treasury Notes blog.