NEW YORK--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's examination process, enforcement actions and remittance rule all came under heavy fire on as banking industry representatives engaged in an intense but polite panel discussion with a top agency official.
Michael Gordon, senior counselor to the director of the CFPB, listened attentively to some of the complaints aired at the annual meeting of the Clearing House Association in New York, and said the agency is trying to improve its relationships with the industry.
"Going forward, our relationships with consumers, with regulated entities, with our government partners — we continue to invest a lot of energy into that — and that's probably the biggest challenge we have, maintaining and improving that," Gordon said.
But American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal, reported that the CFPB still has a long way to go, judging by some of the other panelists' comments. "I've been getting an earful from our members about the exam process," said Steven Zeisel, general counsel for the Consumer Bankers Association.
He expressed particular frustration with the overlap of several federal bank regulatory agencies that now have what he called "a serious coordination issue — I'm even hearing it referred to as the regulatory Olympics."
That comment drew laughs from the panelists, and was jokingly referenced throughout the rest of the discussion. But while some of the panel was more conciliatory, the bank representatives voiced several concerns.
Lynne Barr, chair of the consumer financial services practice at Goodwin Proctor, reiterated a common industry complaint about the CFPB's "adversarial stance" towards the financials it supervises and takes action against. "Banks are starting to worry that they're not dealing with supervisors — (but) much more with a prosecutor," Barr said.