CUNA brief supports accountability in appointing CFPB leader

CUNA filed an amicus brief this week supporting the president’s authority to appoint an interim Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director under the Vacancies Reform Act.

Leandra English, a CFPB employee who was appointed as deputy director by former Director Richard Cordray on his last day in the position, is challenging this presidential appointment authority and instead is seeking to create precedent enabling an outgoing CFPB director to select anyone they choose for this position in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia case English v. Trump.

CUNA and its members have a strong interest in ensuring that the CFPB operates under proper direction of the official who is statutorily and constitutionally entitled to act as its director. Seeking to create a standard for non-accountable leadership contradicts with the CFPB’s stated mission that consumers deserve fair treatment in a more transparent and competitive financial marketplace.

“Americans deserve better than the political theater playing out at the CFPB right now,” said Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO. “It is important to have a process in place which assures leadership of the CFPB has transparency. We disagree that a non-accountable individual leaving office has Presidential appointment powers with no checks and balances in place.”

“As credit unions consider what services they can continue to offer their members, what their costs of compliance may be in the immediate future, and how they want to innovate, it is critical that they have certainty and transparency about the leadership of the CFPB,” Nussle added. “The confusion stemming from this and other litigation surrounding this issue further demonstrate the need for a multi-person commission to lead the CFPB–consumers in need of financial services should not suffer as a result of political grandstanding.”

As noted in its brief, CUNA is concerned that confusion about the CFPB’s leadership creates uncertainty about the status of pending rules, rule effective dates and examination schedules.

It also leaves credit unions uncertain about immediate compliance costs and other actions required by the CFPB, and thereby impacts their operations and their ability to provide financial services on a daily-basis to credit union members.