Mulvaney Downsizes Consumer Watchdog’s Advisory Board

News from S&P Global Market Intelligence

Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has shrunk the agency's advisory board to six people, weeks after clearing the board of its 25 members and barring them from reapplying to the new iteration of the advisory group.

A new charter, dated June 20, says the new Consumer Advisory Board will consist of six members serving one-year terms, all appointed by recommendation of the regional Federal Reserve bank presidents on a rotating basis. Under former Director Richard Cordray, the board was structured to have at least 16 members in addition to at least six members recommended by the Fed bank presidents.

Mulvaney has also reduced the staff and funding dedicated to the advisory group. Under the new charter, the board will have one staffer dedicated to supporting the group, with an annual operating cost of about $150,000. The previous format provided three staff members and about $500,000 a year.

The BCFP informed advisory board members that the refresh was designed to improve external engagement in a more cost-effective way. Spokesperson John Czwartacki criticized the board for being "more concerned about protecting their taxpayer-funded junkets to Washington, D.C., and being wined and dined by the Bureau than protecting consumers."

The advisory board usually meets three times a year, but the charter requires that they meet at least two times each year. Mulvaney's revised board charter did not adjust that requirement.

Members of the advisory board said the turnover was designed to remove "preconceived notions" that current board members may have held.

The BCFP has yet to announce new members for the new board but expects to have chosen them later this summer.