The Director may fix the number of, and appoint and direct, all employees of the Bureau, in accordance with the applicable provisions of title 5.
The Director is authorized to employ attorneys, compliance examiners, compliance supervision analysts, economists, statisticians, and other employees as may be deemed necessary to conduct the business of the Bureau. Unless otherwise provided expressly by law, any individual appointed under this section shall be an employee as defined in section 2105 of title 5 and subject to the provisions of such title and other laws generally applicable to the employees of an Executive agency.
In making any appointment under subparagraph (A), the Director may waive the requirements of chapter 33 of title 5, and the regulations implementing such chapter, to the extent necessary to appoint employees on terms and conditions that are consistent with those set forth in section 11(1) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 248(1)),1 while providing for—
(I) fair, credible, and transparent methods of establishing qualification requirements for, recruitment for, and appointments to positions;
(II) fair and open competition and equitable treatment in the consideration and selection of individuals to positions;
(III) fair, credible, and transparent methods of assigning, reassigning, detailing, transferring, and promoting employees.
In implementing this subparagraph, the Director shall comply with the provisions of section 2302(b)(11),1 regarding veterans' preference requirements, in a manner consistent with that in which such provisions are applied under chapter 33 of title 5. The authority under this subparagraph to waive the requirements of that chapter 33 shall expire 5 years after July 21, 2010.
Notwithstanding any otherwise applicable provision of title 5 concerning compensation, including the provisions of chapter 51 and chapter 53, the following provisions shall apply with respect to employees of the Bureau:
(A) The rates of basic pay for all employees of the Bureau may be set and adjusted by the Director.
(B) The Director shall at all times provide compensation (including benefits) to each class of employees that, at a minimum, are comparable to the compensation and benefits then being provided by the Board of Governors for the corresponding class of employees.
(C) All such employees shall be compensated (including benefits) on terms and conditions that are consistent with the terms and conditions set forth in section 248(l) of this title.
Employees appointed to the Bureau may elect to participate in either—
(i) both the Federal Reserve System Retirement Plan and the Federal Reserve System Thrift Plan, under the same terms on which such participation is offered to employees of the Board of Governors who participate in such plans and under the terms and conditions specified under section 5584(i)(1)(C) of this title; or
(ii) the Civil Service Retirement System under chapter 83 of title 5 or the Federal Employees Retirement System under chapter 84 of title 5, if previously covered under one of those Federal employee retirement systems.
Bureau employees shall make an election under this paragraph not later than 1 year after the date of appointment by, or transfer under part F to, the Bureau. Participation in, and benefit accruals under, any other retirement plan established or maintained by the Federal Government shall end not later than the date on which participation in, and benefit accruals under, the Federal Reserve System Retirement Plan and Federal Reserve System Thrift Plan begin.
The Bureau shall pay an employer contribution to the Federal Reserve System Retirement Plan, in the amount established as an employer contribution under the Federal Employees Retirement System, as established under chapter 84 of title 5 for each Bureau employee who elects to participate in the Federal Reserve System Retirement Plan. The Bureau shall pay an employer contribution to the Federal Reserve System Thrift Plan for each Bureau employee who elects to participate in such plan, as required under the terms of such plan.
The Bureau is the same employer as the Federal Reserve System (as comprised of the Board of Governors and each of the 12 Federal reserve banks prior to July 21, 2010) for purposes of subsections (b), (c), (m), and (o) of section 414 of title 26.
Chapter 71 of title 5 shall apply to the Bureau and the employees of the Bureau.
Not later than 180 days after the designated transfer date, the Bureau shall appoint an ombudsman.
The ombudsman appointed in accordance with subparagraph (A) shall—
(i) act as a liaison between the Bureau and any affected person with respect to any problem that such party may have in dealing with the Bureau, resulting from the regulatory activities of the Bureau; and
(ii) assure that safeguards exist to encourage complainants to come forward and preserve confidentiality.
The Director shall establish a unit whose functions shall include researching, analyzing, and reporting on—
(A) developments in markets for consumer financial products or services, including market areas of alternative consumer financial products or services with high growth rates and areas of risk to consumers;
(B) access to fair and affordable credit for traditionally underserved communities;
(C) consumer awareness, understanding, and use of disclosures and communications regarding consumer financial products or services;
(D) consumer awareness and understanding of costs, risks, and benefits of consumer financial products or services;
(E) consumer behavior with respect to consumer financial products or services, including performance on mortgage loans; and
(F) experiences of traditionally underserved consumers, including un-banked and under-banked consumers.
The Director shall establish a unit whose functions shall include providing information, guidance, and technical assistance regarding the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services to traditionally underserved consumers and communities.
The Director shall establish a unit whose functions shall include establishing a single, toll-free telephone number, a website, and a database or utilizing an existing database to facilitate the centralized collection of, monitoring of, and response to consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products or services. The Director shall coordinate with the Federal Trade Commission or other Federal agencies to route complaints to such agencies, where appropriate.
To the extent practicable, State agencies may receive appropriate complaints from the systems established under subparagraph (A), if—
(i) the State agency system has the functional capacity to receive calls or electronic reports routed by the Bureau systems;
(ii) the State agency has satisfied any conditions of participation in the system that the Bureau may establish, including treatment of personally identifiable information and sharing of information on complaint resolution or related compliance procedures and resources; and
(iii) participation by the State agency includes measures necessary to provide for protection of personally identifiable information that conform to the standards for protection of the confidentiality of personally identifiable information and for data integrity and security that apply to the Federal agencies described in subparagraph (D).
The Director shall present an annual report to Congress not later than March 31 of each year on the complaints received by the Bureau in the prior year regarding consumer financial products and services. Such report shall include information and analysis about complaint numbers, complaint types, and, where applicable, information about resolution of complaints.
To facilitate preparation of the reports required under subparagraph (C), supervision and enforcement activities, and monitoring of the market for consumer financial products and services, the Bureau shall share consumer complaint information with prudential regulators, the Federal Trade Commission, other Federal agencies, and State agencies, subject to the standards applicable to Federal agencies for protection of the confidentiality of personally identifiable information and for data security and integrity. The prudential regulators, the Federal Trade Commission, and other Federal agencies shall share data relating to consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products and services with the Bureau, subject to the standards applicable to Federal agencies for protection of confidentiality of personally identifiable information and for data security and integrity.
The Director shall establish within the Bureau the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity.
The Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity shall have such powers and duties as the Director may delegate to the Office, including—
(A) providing oversight and enforcement of Federal laws intended to ensure the fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit for both individuals and communities that are enforced by the Bureau, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act [15 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.] and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act [12 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.];
(B) coordinating fair lending efforts of the Bureau with other Federal agencies and State regulators, as appropriate, to promote consistent, efficient, and effective enforcement of Federal fair lending laws;
(C) working with private industry, fair lending, civil rights, consumer and community advocates on the promotion of fair lending compliance and education; and
(D) providing annual reports to Congress on the efforts of the Bureau to fulfill its fair lending mandate.
There is established the position of Assistant Director of the Bureau for Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, who—
(A) shall be appointed by the Director; and
(B) shall carry out such duties as the Director may delegate to such Assistant Director.
The Director shall establish an Office of Financial Education, which shall be responsible for developing and implementing initiatives intended to educate and empower consumers to make better informed financial decisions.
The Office of Financial Education shall develop and implement a strategy to improve the financial literacy of consumers that includes measurable goals and objectives, in consultation with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, consistent with the National Strategy for Financial Literacy, through activities including providing opportunities for consumers to access—
(A) financial counseling, including community-based financial counseling, where practicable;
(B) information to assist with the evaluation of credit products and the understanding of credit histories and scores;
(C) savings, borrowing, and other services found at mainstream financial institutions;
(D) activities intended to—
(i) prepare the consumer for educational expenses and the submission of financial aid applications, and other major purchases;
(ii) reduce debt; and
(iii) improve the financial situation of the consumer;
(E) assistance in developing long-term savings strategies; and
(F) wealth building and financial services during the preparation process to claim earned income tax credits and Federal benefits.
The Office of Financial Education shall coordinate with other units within the Bureau in carrying out its functions, including—
(A) working with the Community Affairs Office to implement the strategy to improve financial literacy of consumers; and
(B) working with the research unit established by the Director to conduct research related to consumer financial education and counseling.
Not later than 24 months after the designated transfer date, and annually thereafter, the Director shall submit a report on its financial literacy activities and strategy to improve financial literacy of consumers to—
(A) the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate; and
(B) the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives.
The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to identify—
(i) the feasibility of certification of persons providing the programs or performing the activities described in paragraph (2), including recognizing outstanding programs, and developing guidelines and resources for community-based practitioners, including—
(I) a potential certification process and standards for certification;
(II) appropriate certifying entities;
(III) resources required for funding such a process; and
(IV) a cost-benefit analysis of such certification;
(ii) technological resources intended to collect, analyze, evaluate, or promote financial literacy and counseling programs;
(iii) effective methods, tools, and strategies intended to educate and empower consumers about personal finance management; and
(iv) recommendations intended to encourage the development of programs that effectively improve financial education outcomes and empower consumers to make better informed financial decisions based on findings.
Not later than 1 year after July 21, 2010, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report on the results of the study conducted under this paragraph to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives.
The Director shall establish an Office of Service Member Affairs, which shall be responsible for developing and implementing initiatives for service members and their families intended to—
(A) educate and empower service members and their families to make better informed decisions regarding consumer financial products and services;
(B) coordinate with the unit of the Bureau established under subsection (b)(3), in order to monitor complaints by service members and their families and responses to those complaints by the Bureau or other appropriate Federal or State agency; and
(C) coordinate efforts among Federal and State agencies, as appropriate, regarding consumer protection measures relating to consumer financial products and services offered to, or used by, service members and their families.
The Director is authorized to assign employees of the Bureau as may be deemed necessary to conduct the business of the Office of Service Member Affairs, including by establishing and maintaining the functions of the Office in regional offices of the Bureau located near military bases, military treatment facilities, or other similar military facilities.
The Director is authorized to enter into memoranda of understanding and similar agreements with the Department of Defense, including any branch or agency as authorized by the department, in order to carry out the business of the Office of Service Member Affairs.
As used in this subsection, the term "service member" means any member of the United States Armed Forces and any member of the National Guard or Reserves.
The Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, the Office of Financial Education, and the Office of Service Member Affairs shall each be established not later than 1 year after the designated transfer date.
Before the end of the 180-day period beginning on the designated transfer date, the Director shall establish the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, the functions of which shall include activities designed to facilitate the financial literacy of individuals who have attained the age of 62 years or more (in this subsection, referred to as "seniors") on protection from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices and on current and future financial choices, including through the dissemination of materials to seniors on such topics.
The Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans (in this subsection referred to as the "Office") shall be headed by an assistant director.
The Office shall—
(A) develop goals for programs that provide seniors financial literacy and counseling, including programs that—
(i) help seniors recognize warning signs of unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices, protect themselves from such practices;
(ii) provide one-on-one financial counseling on issues including long-term savings and later-life economic security; and
(iii) provide personal consumer credit advocacy to respond to consumer problems caused by unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices;
(B) monitor certifications or designations of financial advisors who advise seniors and alert the Commission and State regulators of certifications or designations that are identified as unfair, deceptive, or abusive;
(C) not later than 18 months after the date of the establishment of the Office, submit to Congress and the Commission any legislative and regulatory recommendations on the best practices for—
(i) disseminating information regarding the legitimacy of certifications of financial advisers who advise seniors;
(ii) methods in which a senior can identify the financial advisor most appropriate for the senior's needs; and
(iii) methods in which a senior can verify a financial advisor's credentials;
(D) conduct research to identify best practices and effective methods, tools, technology and strategies to educate and counsel seniors about personal finance management with a focus on—
(i) protecting themselves from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices;
(ii) long-term savings; and
(iii) planning for retirement and long-term care;
(E) coordinate consumer protection efforts of seniors with other Federal agencies and State regulators, as appropriate, to promote consistent, effective, and efficient enforcement; and
(F) work with community organizations, non-profit organizations, and other entities that are involved with educating or assisting seniors (including the National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning).
Notwithstanding any provision of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), such Act shall apply to each advisory committee of the Bureau and each subcommittee of such an advisory committee.
(Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1013, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1966; Pub. L. 114–113, div. O, title VII, §704, Dec. 18, 2015, 129 Stat. 3025.)
Section 11(1) of the Federal Reserve Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(1)(C)(i), probably means section 11(l) of the Federal Reserve Act, which is classified to section 248(l) of this title.
Section 2302(b)(11), referred to in subsec. (a)(1)(C)(ii), probably means section 2302(b)(11) of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(A), is title VII of Pub. L. 90–321, as added by Pub. L. 93–495, title V, §503, Oct. 28, 1974, 88 Stat. 1521, which is classified generally to subchapter IV (§1691 et seq.) of chapter 41 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1601 of Title 15 and Tables.
The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(A), probably means the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975, which is title III of Pub. L. 94–200, Dec. 31, 1975, 89 Stat. 1125, and is classified principally to chapter 29 (§2801 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2801 of this title and Tables.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (h), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
Section is comprised of section 1013 of Pub. L. 111–203. Subsec. (d)(5), (6) of section 1013 of Pub. L. 111–203 amended section 9702 of Title 20, Education.
2015—Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 114–113 added subsec. (h).
1 See References in Text note below.