Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau testified before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations Feb. 15 about the CFPB’s proposed budget. The Bureau has proposed a budget for fiscal 2013 that includes 1,359 employees and expenditures totaling $447.6 million – a 26 percent increase over fiscal year 2012.
With 178 employees, the CFPB budget for 2011 was $123.3 million; with 942 employees in fiscal year 2012, its current budget calls for expenditures of $356.3 million.
“We are committed to fulfilling our statutory responsibilities and delivering value to American consumers,” Cordray said. “…Our budget estimates remain considerably below our budget cap … At this time, we have no plans to ask Congress for any further appropriations as we are authorized to do by law.”
The Dodd-Frank Act permits the Bureau to spend up to 10 percent of the Federal Reserve’s operating budget.
The largest expense in the proposed 2013 budget is personnel compensation, totaling $163 million. That works out to be $119,981 per employee, not including health insurance and other benefits.
“One of our main objectives is to make sure the costs and risks of financial products are clear,” Cordray testified. “People make their own decisions, and nobody can or should try to do that for them. But it is the American way for responsible businesses to be straightforward and upfront with their customers, giving them all the information they need to make informed decisions. That is good for honest businesses and good for the overall economy.
“I saw a quote which embodies this view: Free men engaged in free enterprise build better nations with more and better goods and services, higher wages and higher standards of living for more people. But free enterprise is not a hunting license.” That was Governor Ronald Reagan in 1970. I agree with what he said, and it is a view shared by those I work with at the Consumer Bureau.”
Here is Cordray’s testimony, including a detailed look at the proposed budget.