CFPB Continues to Hire Despite Lack of Director

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week it has hired Sendhil Mullainathan as Assistant Director for Research, as well as Patrice Ficklin to serve as Assistant Director for Fair Lending.

While the White House is still mum as to who will serve as the bureau’s director, it appears the CFPB is continuing to hire internally to round out its senior leadership.

The bureau’s new Assistant Director for Research, Sendhil Mullainathan, brings experience as a professor of economics at Harvard University and has received a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, among other honors.

“Under Sendhil’s leadership, the Office of Research will conduct research on a variety of topics and, in many cases, publish findings under the consumer bureau’s name,” the CFPB said via its website. “Frequently, though, researchers will choose their own topics, data, and methodology themselves, draw their own conclusions, and publish in their own names.

“Like other federal regulatory agencies, we encourage this kind of “self-directed” research because it promotes evidence-based, rather than myopic or narrow, policymaking. Self-directed research will help us remain true to the core values that underpin our policymaking: honest investigation, independent thinking, and open discussion.”

Ficklin, the bureau’s assistant director for fair lending most recently practiced at the civil rights law firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax, advising on civil rights issues arising in lending, employment, and housing. She formerly worked at Fannie Mae, where she provided fair lending, housing, and other consumer law advice regarding mortgage products, according to the CFPB.

The bureau, scheduled to launch July 21, has come under much scrutiny regarding its leadership in recent weeks. While some speculation suggests Special Advisor Elizabeth Warren, who has been charged with setting up the bureau, will receive the nomination, legislation passed by House Republicans aims to block any nominee until the bureau’s leadership structure is reconsidered by the president.

The bureau announced this month that its second quarter spending totaled $36 million including a $3 million human resources contract.

Read more about the new CFPB hire.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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