According to the agency’s most recent financial report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has become a Beltway bureaucracy unlike any other.
In 2010, it employed 58 people. This year, the agency employed 1,648 people—a 2,741 percent increase in less than a decade. The CFPB now boasts an operating budget of $647.2 million this year—up from $559 million last year. (That’s a 15 percent increase.) More than $290 million of the CFPB’s funding was used on personnel compensation and benefits paid to current and former employees. An additional $18.3 million was spent on “travel and transportation of persons”—over $11,107 per employee in a single year. In other words, the CFPB allocated nearly half of its entire budget to employee compensation and associated costs.
Worse yet, the CFPB has accumulated roughly $525 million in civil penalties—collected largely from financial institutions—which in part fund the agency’s programs. That’s right: Through its Civil Penalty Fund, the CFPB has amassed about $525 million since its inception, money which it can use for consumer education and financial literacy programs. To date, the agency has financed only one such program through the fund: Financial coaching to a tune of nearly $29 million, whereby the CFPB plants “financial coaches” at nonprofits and other organizations around the country. One of the participants? The Mississippi Center for Justice, a left-wing advocacy group notoriously critical of the payday loan industry. (So much for being nonpartisan.)
Also of note: The $29 million financial coaching budget goes toward 60 CFPB-funded coaches around the country. That’s roughly $480,000 per coach! The CFPB is yet to release any performance metrics related to the program.