SpiritBank CEO: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Needs Change

Article excerpt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's governance structure needs to be adjusted from being headed by one person to a board or commission, SpiritBank Chief Executive Officer Albert Kelly Jr. said to a U.S. Senate committee this week.

Kelly testified before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on behalf of the American Bankers Association, of which he is chairman-elect. Oklahoma Bankers Association President and CEO Roger Beverage said he agreed with Kelly's assessment that the bureau would have greater accountability if its authority were shared by more people.

In an unusual turn of perspective, bankers support more bureaucracy to balance the federal government, Beverage said, an effort to fight fire with fire.

The bureau officially launched Thursday, a year after President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill. It has already come under attack by Republicans sponsoring new legislation to restrict its authority against abuses in mortgage, credit card, lending and other financial practices; they say they're trying to increase transparency. The president has said he will veto that move.

The Senate committee that Kelly spoke to Tuesday is led by Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala. The committee is comprised of 12 Democrat and 10 Republican senators, none of whom are from Oklahoma.

Kelly told the committee that the ABA supports the creation of a board or commission to oversee the bureau's actions instead of giving all that power to one person. Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to serve as the bureau's first director. Kelly said a board would provide a broader range of experience and knowledge in the decision-making process. He called for the inclusion of members with consumer finance business experience and direct safety and soundness regulatory expertise. …