On July 21, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau marked its fifth year of operation with a video – “The CFPB: Making Consumers Count” – which can be viewed on the bureau’s blog.
“We made a change in how financial institutions treat consumers,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in the video. “They know they have to comply with the law, that there is someone standing over their shoulder making sure consumer are treated fairly.”
The video, which was laced with emotional piano music in the background, also had sound bites from media coverage. One example was from the financial crisis. “The reliability of the industry is being questioned,” the sound bite said.
It’s no surprise that the bureau touted its accomplishment and cast itself as consumers’ savior. By its standards it has accomplished much. The bureau has handled 930,700 consumer complaints against financial companies. Its enforcement work has resulted in $440 million in civil penalties. Some 27 million consumers have received some $11.7 billion — $3.6 billion in monetary compensation, $7.7 billion in principal reductions/cancelled debts and $347 million in relief — from CFPB enforcement.
On its own score card, however, the CFPB also hasn’t performed very well. As a leader in rooting out discrimination in financial services, the bureau has been riddled by reports of discrimination against its employees. A report in 2014 by the CFPB’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion said employees are victims of “perceptions of discrimination and lack of diversity in management throughout the bureau.” The Government Accountability Office report in June found that issues with discrimination still remain at the bureau.