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GAO Faults CFPB on Prioritizing Consumer Risks

Phil Hall
Dec 28, 2018
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that it has taken measures to make it easier for consumers with urgent financial needs to obtain access to mortgage credit more quickly in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to task for a perceived inability to prioritize dealing with risks faced by consumers.
In a new report, the GAO noted that the CFPB “initiated a bureau-wide process for using market data and other information to set policy priorities related to addressing risks to consumers” in 2015. But three years later, the process appears to have broken down.
“CFPB currently lacks a systematic, bureau-wide process for prioritizing financial risks to consumers and considering how it will use its tools—such as rulemaking, supervision, and consumer education—to address them,” the GAO stated. “Federal internal control standards state that management should use quality information to achieve agency objectives and that it should also identify, analyze, and respond to risks related to achieving those objectives. Implementing a bureau-wide prioritization process could help to ensure that CFPB effectively focuses its resources on the most significant financial risks to consumers and enhances its ability to meet its statutory consumer protection objectives.”
The GAO recommended that the CFPB “implement a systematic process for prioritizing risks to consumers and considering how to use its available policy tools—such as rulemaking, supervision, enforcement, and consumer education—to address these risks.” The GAO also noted that the CFPB did not agree or disagree with its recommendation, but acknowledged the value of having such processes in place.

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