The CFPB’s Division of Research, Markets & Regulations recently posted a job opening for an individual to serve as the “Assistant Director for Small Business Lending Markets.” According to the job posting, the Assistant Director “will lead an inter-disciplinary team in the Bureau’s research and development of a landmark collection of data about loans to small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses.”
The new position relates to the CFPB’s rulemaking to implement the small business lending data requirements of Dodd-Frank Section 1071. Section 1071 amended the ECOA to require financial institutions to collect and maintain certain data in connection with credit applications made by women- or minority-owned businesses and small businesses. Such data includes the race, sex, and ethnicity of the principal owners of the business. The job posting indicates that the Assistant Director’s job responsibilities will include “lead[ing]the market research that will establish the factual foundation for designing the collection,” “lead[ing] development of options for the scope and approach of the collection,” and “serv[ing] as a trusted advisor on a rulemaking to implement the collection.”
The CFPB has been facing increasing pressure to issue rules to implement Section 1071, including from lawmakers and consumer groups. However, even if the CFPB has succeeded in filling the Assistant Director position, rulemaking would not appear to be imminent given how recently the new Assistant Director would have been hired.
While this position appears to be focused on Section 1071 issues, it also may be a further indication of the CFPB’s interest in small business lending. The new Assistant Director will be tasked with “monitor[ing], analyz[ing] and interpret[ing] developments in small business loan products.” Although the CFPB’s jurisdiction obviously is focused on consumer financial services, it also extends to enforcement of some statutes that apply to small businesses, such as the ECOA and FCRA. Presumably this new Assistant Director will have some influence over the CFPB’s activity in this area.