CFPB Refocuses Mission in New Strategic Plan

February 13, 2018

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) released a five-year strategic plan that establishes its mission, strategic goals and strategic objectives.

"If there is one way to summarize the strategic changes occurring at the bureau, it is this: we have committed to fulfill the bureau’s statutory responsibilities, but go no further," said Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. "By hewing to the statute, this strategic plan provides the bureau a ready roadmap, a touchstone with a fixed meaning that should serve as a bulwark against the misuse of our unparalleled powers."

The plan draws directly from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and refocuses the bureau’s mission on regulating consumer financial products or services under existing federal consumer financial laws, enforcing those laws judiciously, and educating and empowering consumers to make better informed financial decisions.

Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the CFPB to exercise authority to ensure that, with respect to consumer financial products and services

  • Consumers are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions;
  • Consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination;
  • Outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations are regularly identified and addressed in order to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens;
  • Federal consumer financial law is enforced consistently in order to promote fair competition; and
  • Markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently to facilitate access and innovation

Among changes from the prior strategic plan, the bureau will now focus on equally protecting the legal rights of all, including those regulated by the bureau, and will engage in rulemaking where appropriate to address unwarranted regulatory burdens and to implement federal consumer financial law and will operate more efficiently, effectively, and transparently.

The bureau is required to prepare and publish a five-year strategic plan in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and GPRA Modernization Act. The prior strategic plan was published in April 2013. The new plan is a revision of the draft released in October 2017.

Additionally, the budget for fiscal year 2019 released by the Trump Administration would subject the CFPB to the congressional appropriations process. The budget proposes placing the agencies, all independently funded from other federal entities, under Congress’s control by 2020.

The CFPB’s 2019 budget would also be capped at its 2015 level, $485 million, compared with a projected $630 million this year.

According to a statement released by the White House, “The proposed reforms would impose financial discipline, reduce wasteful spending, and ensure appropriate congressional oversight. … To prevent actions that unduly burden the financial industry and limit consumer choice, the proposal restricts CFPB’s broad enforcement authority over Federal consumer law.”

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