Politics & Money

CFPB-to-BCFP name change could cost companies $300 million

Internal analysis contradicts Mulvaney’s claim that rebrand would cost nothing

Since March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been pushing for a name change, and while rearranging the four letters in its acronym doesn’t seem like much, a report suggests the move could cost companies as much as $300 million.

Under CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, the agency has been calling itself the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, issuing a new seal and changing the signage outside its offices. 

Mulvaney said the name change is an effort to realign the bureau with the Dodd-Frank Act that brought it into being. In the text of that law, the agency is called the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

But the agency has been operating as the CFPB since its inception in 2011 and during the tenure of its former director, Richard Cordray, a Democrat who oversaw the bureau from 2012 to 2017. 

Republican Mulvaney, who has been vocal about his mission to end the agency’s legacy of regulation by enforcement, told the Washington Examiner that a name change is a small way to send a powerful message. 

“If…your whole theme is going to be, ‘we’re going to follow the statute,’ I thought it was a good, small way – but a very visible way – to send a message,” he said.

In that same interview, Mulvaney also said the change would cost nothing, but an internal analysis conducted by the agency and obtained by The Hill suggests otherwise. 

According to an article in The Hill, financial services firms, banks and lenders that are subject to CFPB oversight might be forced to spend millions of dollars updating materials with the new name.

The report indicated that banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies and payday lenders could be required to spend approximately $300 million to update their databases, change regulatory filings and revise disclosure forms to accommodate the new name. 

The analysis stated that the changes would be necessary in order to remain compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and other mortgage regulations. 

The rebrand would also cost the agency between $9 million and $19 million in order to finance updates to internal materials and to its website, which the bureau is aiming to overhaul by March, according to the report. This will amount to a hefty bill for the Federal Reserve, which funds the CFPB.

The report estimated that it could take months or even years to implement the rebrand across all the regulatory bodies the agency oversees. Such a varied timeline means nailing down a more precise dollar amount is, as yet, elusive.

Now, the agency is waiting for a permanent director to take the helm, a role Kathy Kraninger is likely to fill since a procedural vote in the Senate last week pushed her nomination forward. 

It remains to be seen whether or not Kraninger will follow her predecessor’s lead in pushing for the name change. 

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