The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) needs a new marketing department.
In 2016 alone, the CFPB’s “Consumer Education and Engagement” budget surpassed $42 million, yet most Americans don’t even know enough about the agency to form an opinion about it. In a recent national telephone survey, 81 percent of respondents claimed that they had no opinion of the CFPB because they lacked adequate information. This, despite the fact that the CFPB has penalized U.S. companies to the tune of $11.7 billion. (That’s right: $11 billion!) In a 2014 interview with CFPB Director Richard Cordray, Jon Stewart famously joked about the agency’s low profile: “You are in the consumer bureau of … commerce … and alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.”
The newest polling suggests that the CFPB’s marketing shtick is falling on deaf ears—if any at all. Even Rohit Chopra, a former CFPB assistant director, admits that the agency doesn’t have “the most effective PR strategy.” This is a red flag given the CFPB’s 2017 budget: The agency plans to spend about $45 million on consumer outreach.
If the CFPB is doing such wonders—as its staffers are quick to say—then why don’t regular Americans even know it exists?