Capito addresses CFPB’s transparency efforts

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, addressed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s openness during her statement at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

“We are here this morning to learn more about Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s collection and use of consumer’s personal financial data,” Capito said. “Unfortunately, the fact that we need today’s hearing is an important indication of how little meaningful information the CFPB provides to Congress and the public. “

Capito said the CFPB’s decision to not answer Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo’s (R-Idaho) recent request for the specific number of consumer accounts the agency is monitoring was troubling.

“Without definitive answers to this and other basic questions, it is difficult for consumers to determine how much of their financial data is being aggregated by the CFPB,” Capito said.

The General Accounting Office and the Federal Reserve’s Inspector General recently found serious deficiencies with the CFPB’s systems and controls for the data they and the outside entities they are contracting with are collecting.

“Many of us feared that the CFPB would eventually limit the ability of consumers to choose the financial product that best suits their individual needs; however, the prospect of the CFPB watching a consumer’s every financial decision is even more troubling,” Capito said.

Steven Antonakes, the CFPB’s acting deputy director testified at the hearing. He said the bureau collects and studies data in order to protect consumers throughout the United States and does not study any particular individuals.