On Sept. 4, Steve Antonakes was named Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former commissioner of banking for the State of Massachusetts had been Acting Deputy Director.
Antonakes is a career bank regulator. He started as a state examiner 23 years ago. He later served as Tom Curry’s deputy for nine years in Massachusetts before eventually succeeding him as the Commissioner of Banks. He served as the chief state bank regulator in Massachusetts from 2033 to 2010. Antonakes joined the bureau in 2010 and became acting deputy director when Raj Date stepped down in April.
As Director Richard Cordray sheds the shadow of Congressional approval that loomed over the agency since 2011, Antonakes is the right pick as the bureau now focuses on enforcement. After he came to the bureau, he led the agency’s supervision, enforcement and fair lending division.
The new deputy director has long advocated regulation tailored to the business model of community banks. “We recognize that compliance will be managed differently by large, complex banking organizations at one end of the spectrum and small entities that offer a narrow range of financial products and services at the other end,” he told bankers at the American Bankers Association’s Government Relations Summit in Washington D.C., in April. “While the characteristics and implementation will vary from entity to entity, we believe compliance management activities, including implementing new regulatory requirements, must be a priority and should be appropriate for the nature, size, and complexity of the financial entity’s consumer business.”
Antonakes has said that the CFPB does not have the personnel nor the time to visit community banks. “We have not set foot in a bank with less than $10 billion in assets that is not an affiliate of a larger bank under our jurisdiction,” he told bankers in Des Moines, Iowa, in April. The agency has about 1,100 employees, and expects to staff up to full strength of about 1,500. That is a sizeable staff, but with supervisory responsibility for banks with $10 billion or more in assets, the CFPB must examine about 100 of the nation’s largest financial institutions. The bureau needs to be highly selective about where it sends its examiners, Antonakes said.