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Lending / The Ticker

Rep. Neugebauer questions CFPB six-figure salaries

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Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, is questioning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's decision to pay six-figure salaries to 958 staff members.

The congressman, who has a long record of questioning the CFPB's structure and $550-million annual draw from the Federal Reserve, questioned the salaries in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece.

"A review of the bureau's salaries as of Aug. 28, 2012, reveals that approximately 60% of the bureau's 958 employees make more than $100,000 a year," Neugebauer wrote. "Five percent of its employees are out-earning U.S. cabinet secretaries by raking in $200,000 or more annually. The director's secretary alone is paid $165,139 a year."

With the U.S. median salary sitting at $50,054, Neugebauer openly wondered why it's necessary for a government agency to pay more than 50% of its employees in the six-figure range.

The CFPB had no official comment on the WSJ editorial, but the agency has been defending its funding and personnel structure for the past two years.

The bureau's strongest resistance period occurred when current U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren was the de facto leader of the agency before its mid-2011 launch.

During that time, there were numerous debates in Congressional hearings about the CFPB's draw on Federal Reserve funds and its structure.

Warren later left and is now running for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts while Richard Cordray assumed the director role at CFPB.

The debate over salaries often hinges on the nature of the CFPB as a financial regulator.

The bureau contended in the past that its compensation model mirrors the Federal Reserve's. The agency also says its pay scale is comparable to those used by other financial regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

All of the agency's budget information is posted online at this CFPB website.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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