CFPB hires former Fannie Mae ethics head
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which still lacks a director, announced two hires this week, including a former ethics leader at Fannie Mae. Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the CFPB and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury and assistant to the president, named Sendhil Mullainathan assistant director for research and Patrice Ficklin assistant director for Fair Lending. Patrice Ficklin most recently worked at Relman, Dane & Colfax in the area of civil rights and focused her time there on lending, employment and housing. Prior to that, she served Fannie Mae, directing the GSE's employee grievance department, conducting internal investigations and heading the corporate ethics program. While at Fannie, Ficklin revamped standards on office and employee performance reviews, according to a press release issued by the CFPB. Ficklin graduated from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard University, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He also co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and served as a board member of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development. "Under Sendhil Mullainathan, the Office of Research will promote evidence-based policy-making at the CFPB. The office will provide analytical support to the Bureau and strengthen its understanding of possible benefits and costs of potential CFPB policies," said Warren. "With Patrice Ficklin at its head, the Office of Fair Lending will provide oversight and enforcement of Federal laws intended to ensure fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit for both individuals and communities." Warren's appointments arrive two months before the bureau opens, yet the CFPB is still without a director. The debate over Elizabeth Warren and whether she will ultimately become director of the CFPB continues, with other potential candidates bowing out of the process and Republican lawmakers introducing bills to quash the director's power through the creation of a commission, while also attempting to delay the bureau's roll out until other major issues are resolved. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.