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CFPB Report: 2013-AE-C-021 December 16, 2013

The CFPB Should Reassess Its Approach to Integrating Enforcement Attorneys Into Examinations and Enhance Associated Safeguards

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Appendix A: Scope and Methodology

To accomplish our objectives, we reviewed materials detailing relevant background on the CFPB, such as title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, several Congressional Research Service studies that describe the CFPB's formation and structure,18 and the agency's strategic plan for fiscal years 2013-2017. We also reviewed controlling documents addressing the CFPB's supervision process and integrated approach, including the agency's examination manual and its examination support policy. In addition, we obtained background information on the supervision and enforcement approaches employed by other federal financial regulatory agencies. To understand industry perspectives on the integrated approach, we compiled and reviewed articles19 published by financial services media outlets as well as correspondence from an industry group.20 We reviewed a report published by the CFPB's Ombudsman's Office that describes the agency's implementation of the integrated approach, and we met with the Ombudsman to discuss this effort.

We evaluated the CFPB's execution of the integrated approach by judgmentally selecting a sample of eight closed CFPB examinations of depository or nondepository institutions in which enforcement attorneys participated. This sample included two examinations from each of the CFPB's four regions. We reviewed supervisory materials for the sample examinations, such as scope memorandums and supervisory letters, and interviewed the field manager, the EIC, and the enforcement attorney assigned to those examinations.21 We also conducted interviews with each of the four CFPB regional directors as well as senior officials within SEFL.

We conducted our fieldwork from February 2013 through August 2013 and performed our evaluation in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation issued by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency in January 2012.

  • 18. Sean M. Hoskins, A Brief Overview of Actions Taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Its First Year, Congressional Research Service, August 29, 2012; David H. Carpenter, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): A Legal Analysis, Congressional Research Service, June 7, 2012; and David H. Carpenter, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: Title X, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, June 21, 2010.   Return to text
  • 19. Mark W. Olson, "CFPB Stepping into Vigilante Territory," American Banker, April 20, 2012; Kevin Petrasic, "CFPB Should Leave Enforcement Lawyers Out of Bank Exams," American Banker, December 12, 2012; Ronald L. Rubin, "The Identity Crisis at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, January 22, 2013; and Kevin Wack, "Bankers Grill CFPB's Antonakes on Exam Process," American Banker, March 13, 2013.   Return to text
  • 20. We reviewed two letters, dated July 2, 2012, and February 14, 2013, from David T. Hirschmann, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to the Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, CFPB. These letters are available at and, respectively.   Return to text
  • 21. An individual who served as the EIC for one of the examinations in our sample was no longer employed at the CFPB at the time of our evaluation. Accordingly, we did not interview that individual.  Return to text