CFPB Looks to Start Hiring Again After 2-Year Freeze
By Jessica Easto
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the government agency that oversees consumer protection in the financial sector, is hiring again after layoffs and a hiring freeze was put in place nearly two years ago.
Staff numbers had dropped about 15 percent under the current administration, which cut the CFPB’s budget. The CFPB’s director, Kathy Kraninger, sent an internal email in August that stated, “Broadly speaking, the completion of the staffing planning process means: the ‘hiring freeze’ is lifted.”
Kraninger, who started as director in December 2018 after the freeze was already in place, wrote in the email that she wanted to move the CFPB “away from the hiring freeze and towards a more sustainable and disciplined practice of identifying and hiring the staff needed to accomplish the bureau’s mission priorities.”
The CFPB enacts and enforces regulations designed to protect consumers in sectors such as payday loans, banking, debt collection, foreclosure, credit unions, and more. The agency was created after the financial crisis by the Obama administration. At the agency’s peak in 2017, it employed more than 1,700 workers.
The hiring freeze started in November 2017, when Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, began serving as interim head of the bureau. He held the position for about one year, during with he decreased enforcement proceedings, rolled back Obama-administration policies, and cut the budget.
Kraninger indicated that the uptick in hiring was necessary to accomplish the goals and policies set for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1. The agency has posted several jobs so far, including assistant director positions for financial institutions, legislative affairs, and enforcement.
According to the bureau’s records, it has opened 20 investigations this fiscal year, which is more than last fiscal year’s 15, an all-time low. (Fiscal year 2017 had 63 investigations and 2016 had 70.)
“Ongoing hiring is important to the agency maintaining a critical mass of staff and to protect current employees from being overburdened,” said Eric Goldberg, a former CFPB employee who left in 2018 after six years with the company.