The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the highly publicized federal agency established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is beginning to take form online and in Washington, D.C.
The agency’s stated mission is “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans” by ensuring that the price and risks associated with these products and services are “clear” and “visible.” The CFPB will consolidate separate consumer protection powers previously held by seven different agencies, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, National Credit Union Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Trade Commission.
In early February 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the launch of ConsumerFinance.gov, the CFPB’s “beta” website. This website features a detailed timeline of the creation of the Bureau, as well as a blog of important news and updates on the Bureau’s ongoing development.
Later in February, the Treasury Department also announced the permanent headquarters of the Bureau: 1700 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C., across from the White House complex. The building, which currently houses OTS, will undergo extensive renovations in the coming months.
In a recent post on the CFPB blog, Elizabeth Warren, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, explained the appeal of having a frequent tourist attraction nearby: “We want this agency to have a very tangible presence for anyone who visits Washington.” Warren wants to open to the public – that is, consumers – as much of the CFPB building as possible.
Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, has designated July 21, 2011, as the “transfer date” of consumer financial protection powers to the CFPB. On that date, the CFPB will assume primary responsibility for the enforcement and promulgation of consumer financial laws.