An internal report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reveals dissatisfaction with the organization among employees as they reported instances of elitism, discrimination, favoritism, nepotism and a lack of accountability for supervisors and managers. The full report can be found here.
The report was compiled and published by the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). The OMWI is required by Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act, and one of its key objectives is to help the CFPB achieve diversity and inclusion at all levels in its workforce and senior management. In response to allegations of discrimination and performance review disparities at the CFPB, which were the subject of an investigation by the House Financial Services Committee, CFPB Director Richard Cordray instructed the OMWI to conduct a series of staff “listening sessions” to address diversity at the bureau. According to the report, more than 300 of the CFPB’s 1,100 employees participated in the 48 listening sessions conducted earlier this year between April 23 and June 18.
“The concerns raised include complaints about inexperienced supervisors who either micromanage or under-manage their subordinates or ignore employee feedback, and the overabundance of high-pressure projects that are all deemed a priority,” stated the report. Employees also complained about a lack of accountability for supervisors who do not manage and develop their direct reports effectively. The report said every employee was invited to participate and that separate sessions were held for managers and supervisors.
Employees cited “elitism, favoritism, lack of respect for everyone’s work, lack of civility, lack of appreciation of different work styles, perceptions of discrimination and lack of diversity in management throughout the bureau” as internal issues, the report said. Further, CFPB employees said these problems have contributed to a “closed environment that was only open to a few select individuals and that others were left wondering how to get into the inner circle.” Participants in the listening sessions frequently mentioned frustrations with insufficiency in infrastructure, lack of transparency and communication, and perceived unfairness in application of practices and procedures.
According to the report, “The bureau needs to provide managers and supervisors with appropriate training. Increased training can also complement shifting the culture of the agency to support an equal, fair, and inclusive workplace,” the report recommended. The CFPB is currently procuring external experts to evaluate personnel policies relating to performance reviews, compensation and hiring. A CFPB spokesperson said the bureau intends to complete a remediation process by the end of September, which is expected to cost more than $5 million.