Much has been written about Rohit Chopra’s tenure as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau). While many expected an aggressive enforcement posture, in part because of an aggressive hiring spree in enforcement, his tenure has been marked more by an aggressive use of guidance and exhortation. Recently released statistics bear this out. In response to a FOIA request, the CFPB released data about the number of enforcement investigations opened in Fiscal Year 2022, which is roughly equivalent to Chopra’s first full year as Director. (New enforcement investigations are non-public unless and until they blossom into enforcement actions, typically a year or more after they are opened. The data discussed here relate to the number of investigations opened, not the number of actions brought.) That data demonstrates that the Bureau opened only 25 new enforcement investigations in the last fiscal year—fewer than in any year since FY2019, when Mick Mulvaney and Kathleen Kraninger served as Directors. Below is a table showing the number of enforcement investigations opened in each Fiscal Year, according to data released by the CFPB.
|Fiscal Year||Enforcement Investigations Opened||Director(s)|
Other data released by the CFPB shows a mild drop in the number and percent of supervisory matters referred to enforcement during the same time period. In FY2022, the CFPB referred 45 supervisory matters to its Action Review Committee (ARC) for consideration as to whether the matter should be referred to enforcement. Nine of those 45 matters—or 20%—were referred at least in part to enforcement. That is slightly lower than the agency’s historical average of referring about 29% of ARC matters at least in part to enforcement.
It will be interesting to see if these trends continue or if the agency ramps up its enforcement activity in the coming years. We will continue to monitor and report on these issues.