| By Greg Fisher
hankful are some for the so-called "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," a new federal agency created to protect consumers' er, uh–financials. The legislation that created the organization, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (and that's the short title—many call it just "Dodd-Frank") became law in July, 2010.
In July 2012, the director of the so-called CFPB said, "So we are glad to be with you today and to have you help us better understand how credit reporting companies (also called consumer reporting companies) affect people’s daily lives for better and for worse."
They could help you help them better understand those companies if he would start by using their real designation (15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f)). Richard Cordray is definitely the director of that new federal agency. That is what the law calls him: The "Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."
However, Dodd-Frank also says (more often) that he is the "Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection."
See the difference (first word: Bureau vs. first word: Consumer)? What in the world is going on, here? Last month, in an address dedicated entirely to the new agency, the President didn't even mention its name.
That law also says, "There is established in the Federal Reserve System, an independent bureau to be known as the ‘‘Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’’, which shall regulate the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services under the Federal consumer financial laws."
However, this thing is not known by that name as much as its alternate name. Take a look at the number of search engine results for each:
And, really, isn't this all about searching and finding? Perhaps the idea is that citizens aren't going to look up consumer financial protection under the letter B. For consumer issues you wouldn't search for Bureau, necessarily. Maybe you don't even know that such a bureau exists. Just to be on the safe side, USA.gov ("Government Made Easy"),
the our official website lists the regulator under no less than three monikers. But, as a citizen, did you approve that? Read their (our) page called About Us (the page name that appears in the footer on every page)(and, yes, this is needlessly complicated by Washington). It says that USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal.
Meanwhile, over at the Department of Redundancy Department, there is this chicanery entered into our Federal Register: "... the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, hereinto referred to as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."
There are people who we pay to think up things like that, of course. But when you have to use a word like "hereinto," you're just wasting paper and time. When you're in the bureaucracy, you have to understand your place: You are not smarter than Congress. In other words, you are not smarter than the people.
The agency's Facebook (yes, our agency is hip and on Facebook) entry of February 3, 2011 is a picture of a sheriff's badge emblazoned with the letters CFPB (not BCFP). The badge was replaced with a flashlight beam logo, but the "cop on the beat" metaphorical sales line remains. The top cop, Director Cordray, was not appointed until January of this year. Prior to that, in February of 2011, we were welcomed, in its first blog post, to "the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website" by a video of, simply, Elizabeth Warren—just "Elizabeth Warren."
A lot has happened since then. Now, that's Senator-elect Warren to you.
Law and order
Gosh. That sounded like the question really annoyed him.
Well, it took a while (Note to industry: Snark is a bad tactic), but these things have a way of working themselves out.
We have the law, so now let's put things in order by the end of the year. Perhaps it should be known as the Citizens' Financial Protection Bureau (emphasis on the apostrophe). But that would take an Act of Congress—Act with a capital A. In the meantime (since it's our agency and our law) let's get back to basics, follow the law and call things what they are, search convenience and megalomaniacal double-speaking bureaucrats be-damned. They aren't "credit reporting companies" or even "consumer reporting companies" as the honorable director calls them; they are consumer reporting agencies. And it is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Indeed, it says so—we say so—right in the Federal Register, over and over again. This relationship is getting started off on the wrong foot.
- Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Director the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
- Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The first item: Who changed the name of our bureau, and, when did they change it? See the second item (and the rest) at blog.creditscoring.com/?tag=name-change. And, don't forget who is in charge.
Maybe the BFI can look into this.