The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has named Suffolk University Law School Professor Kathleen C. Engel, a national authority on consumer credit and mortgage finance, to its Consumer Advisory Board.
CFPB, established by Congress in the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is charged with carrying out federal consumer financial laws. It not only writes rules, but also promotes financial education and takes consumer complaints.
Engel, a research professor of law, joins a group of experts that keeps the CFPB informed about market trends in consumer finance while offering analysis and recommendations.
“I have been a big supporter of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since it was first an idea and when it became a reality. So to be a part of helping the bureau do its job is very exciting for me,” Engel said.
She brings a voice of authority on mortgage finance and regulation, the housing market, subprime and predatory lending, consumer credit, and housing discrimination. Engel has advised federal and state agencies on matters related to financing of loans and served for three years on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as well as on the Community Affairs Research Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She is the co-author of The Subprime Virus: Reckless Credit, Regulatory Failure and Next Steps and has written extensively on consumer-related issues and presents her award-winning research in academic, banking, and policy forums throughout the country and around the world.
“Professor Engel has long been a national authority in this area, and she has a clear passion for consumer financial protection,” said Suffolk University Law School Dean Andrew Perlman. “Her selection is a testament to her sustained and deep commitment to the issues involved, and I’m delighted to see her recognized for her work.”
The CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board is made up of a combination of advocates, financial industry representatives, academics and others representing a broad range of expertise on issues under the bureau’s jurisdiction. Engel said that the group can work together to highlight issues seen at the ground level and bring them to the attention of the bureau in Washington.
Debt collector methods and related documentation problems are among the timely issues that the advisory board is likely to address, Engel said. Owners of debt often sell it to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. Those debt collectors may get a judgment against a borrower in court without actually having any proof that they own the debt.
Engel said the protection bureau has also been looking at student loan issues for some time and “I think we should expect some deeper dives into that area.”
In addition to choosing Engel and others for the Consumer Advisory Board, the CFPB made appointments to its Community Bank Advisory Council and Credit Union Advisory Council.
“These advisory bodies play a crucial role in ensuring that the bureau is addressing the wide variety of perspectives in the consumer financial marketplace,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The new additions … bring a range of expertise and experience that will help inform our work going forward.”