Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said in a recent guest column that in order to alleviate concerns regarding reports of the CFPB’s monitoring and analysis of credit card accounts, structural changes to the agency are “essential.”
Recent news reports said the CFPB is potentially monitoring up to 900 million credit card accounts and is spending over $20 million to collect and analyze the data, renewing calls from agency critics that changes to the agency’s structure are critical to ensure oversight and accountability at the agency.
“Moving from a single director to a board format will enhance transparency and accountability,” Crapo said. “In addition, the agency should be subject to the federal appropriations process so that the public has a role in determining how monies are being spent—especially on items such as third-party contracts and outside services. Finally, the prudential banking regulators need to have more than just informal input into the CFPB’s policy and rulemaking decisions.”
Crapo said the Dodd-Frank Act gives the CFPB director “unchecked powers unlike any other federal official,” adding that the agency’s interest in consumers’ financial data raises questions that the agency “is watching Americans instead of watching out for them.”
“The size and scope of CFPB’s data collection on personal financial accounts warrant proper government oversight to guard consumers’ privacy and ensure the agency is acting within its existing authority,” Crapo said, adding that an investigation into the CFPB by the Government Accountability Office is currently underway. “Regardless of the administration in charge, either Republican or Democrat, the CFPB’s structure must be revised to fit the models of traditional departments and agencies. Otherwise, it will continue to lack the necessary transparency and public accountability to the people it is supposed to serve.”