CFPB to OTS Digs
The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found a home in the soon-to-be-abolished Office of Thrift Supervision headquarters.
Occupying the OTS office would put the CFPB just a block away from the White House. But Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration official in charge of setting up the agency, is planning some redecorating before the move becomes official this summer. The changes are intended to make the space more consumer-friendly.
"With its headquarters in the heart of Washington D.C. — just across the street from the White House complex — the new agency will offer a very tangible presence for anyone who comes to our nation's capital," said Warren, an assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury secretary. "The consumer bureau belongs to the American people, so we aim to make its headquarters welcoming to the public."
The CFPB's plans for the building include a first floor that would be open for educational programs, including interactive kiosks and 21st-century learning centers. In a press release, the bureau said its goal is to create a place where Americans of all ages can learn about managing their finances.
Speaking of the CFPB, the bureau continued its hiring binge last week.
It announced the hiring of Raj Date as associate director for research, markets and regulations, Patricia McCoy to lead the mortgage and home equity markets team, Corey Stone to lead the credit information markets team, Zixta Martinez as assistant director for community affairs and Elizabeth Vale as assistant director for community banks and credit unions.
Date is to oversee several offices, including research, credit markets, mortgage and home equity markets, credit information markets, deposit and payment markets and installment lending markets. He previously worked at Capital One Financial as a senior vice president and later at Deutsche Bank as a managing director. In 2009, he founded the Cambridge Winter Center, a nonprofit financial institutions policy organization.
Coy was a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Previously, she was a partner in the Mayer, Brown law firm, specializing in financial services law and commercial litigation.
Stone is a board member of Start Community Bank in New Haven, Conn., where he was chairman. He also was a clinical visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and a fellow of the Center for Financial Services Innovation in Chicago.
Martinez is to lead the CFPB's outreach to consumer advocacy groups and community organizations. She was senior director of industry and state relations at Freddie Mac and worked at several consumer groups as well as being a staff member of the Senate Banking Committee.
Vale is to be the CFPB's liaison to community banks, credit unions and small businesses. She has been the White House business liaison and executive director of the White House Business Council and, before that, was a managing director at Morgan Stanley.
Republicans and Democrats may bicker a lot when they are in office, but once they retire from Congress, they tend to be more gracious. A case in point occurred last week when former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas testified before the House Financial Services Committee.
Thomas, an outspoken Republican, was critical of many aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act but credited Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., for all of the law's best points.
He did, however, blame former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd for pushing through the reform legislation because he was planning to retire.
"Sen. Dodd decided to retire. And whenever anyone spends that much time in Congress and wants to move a product, it's very difficult to say no," said Thomas, who was testifying as a leader of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. "I'm not saying the product was fatally flawed, I'm just saying that there was a desire to get it done before he left Congress. … My friend from Massachusetts, his name is on it, and I think all of the good parts that are in it are attributed to him. The rest of them are to those who have left the place."
Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus then sought permission from Frank to let Thomas run over his allotted five minutes of questioning per lawmaker.
After consulting with Frank, who is the panel's No. 1 Democrat, Bachus turned to Thomas and said, "The ranking member says that's fine as long as you keep complimenting him."