CFPB Opens Application Window to Join Advisory Committees

Be part of the solution, not the problem, the old saying goes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is giving participants in the debt collection industry the opportunity to be part of the solution, but only if they are willing to do the work required to participate.

The CFPB announced yesterday that it is accepting applications for its four outside committees — the Consumer Advisory Board, the Community Bank Advisory Council, the Credit Union Advisory Council, and the Academic Research Council. Those committees, according to the CFPB, are tasked with providing insight into the “emerging trends and practices” in the consumer finance industry.

Among the types of individuals the CFPB is looking to apply for a spot on the boards are “experts in consumer financial products or services, including consumer reporting, student lending, small dollar lending, credit cards, debt collection, and debt relief.” That is as close to an engraved invitation as the industry is likely to get to be part of the groups that can help influence the direction of the CFPB. And with a debt collection rule inches away from the goal line and who knows what kind of changes are going to happen at the Bureau once President-elect Biden takes office, now may be the most important time to have one of the industry’s own on the inside.

Eric Troutman, who runs TCPAWorld.com, noted during a webinar last week that the Federal Communications Commission was able to make major changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because not enough people, especially those in the collection industry, stood up and shared how bad those changes would be for the industry. And it can be easy to criticize the CFPB for the moves it makes because none of its outside committees have any representation from the industry. But they can’t invite someone from the industry to participate unless someone from the industry applies. How does the saying go? If you aren’t willing to participate in the process, you don’t get to be able to criticize the results.

If you are interested in applying, please click here and follow the instructions. Applications will have to submit a cover letter explaining their interests and qualifications, a resume, recommendation letters (if you need someone to write you one, let me know and I’ll be happy to do it), and a completed questionnaire.

The industry has had very little participation on these boards in the past. To the best of my knowledge, there have been two industry representatives — Joann Needleman and Ohad Samet — to have participated on the Consumer Advisory Board. Who wants to be next?

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