The CFPB’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) has issued its annual report to Congress covering the OMWI’s activities in FY 2016.  The Dodd-Frank Act required the CFPB and various other federal agencies, including the Fed, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, and SEC, to establish an OMWI, and also requires each OMWI to submit an annual report to Congress.

From industry’s perspective, the most noteworthy task Dodd-Frank assigned to each OMWI was the development of standards to assess the diversity policies and practices relating to employment and third party contracting of the institutions regulated by the OMWI’s agency.  As the report notes, in June 2015, the CFPB and the agencies listed above jointly issued a final policy statement establishing such standards (Final Standards).  The Final Standards became effective on June 10, 2015 and envision that an entity will conduct an annual “self-assessment” of its diversity policies and practices.  Last July, the CFPB and other agencies required to establish an OMWI published a notice in the Federal Register that informed regulated entities that they could begin to submit self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices to the Director of the OMWI of their primary federal financial regulator.

In its report, the OMWI states that in 2016, it “continued the planning needed for initiatives related to the new standards.”  The planning work included creating a self-assessment tool that will be offered to entities to assess their diversity and inclusion policy and practices.  The report indicates that the CFPB hosted “an initial roundtable listening session” in November 2016 with mortgage industry members to learn more about their experiences, practices and challenges with diversity and inclusion management practices.

Another task of an OMWI is to develop standards for creating diversity in an agency’s own workforce and increasing participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the agency’s programs and contracts.  According to the report, the CFPB had a workforce of 1633 employees in 2016 (representing an increase of 124 employees from 2015), of whom almost 49% were female and 51% were male.  (The percentage of women represents about a 1% increase from 2015’s percentage.)  In addition, of those employees, approximately 62.3% self-identified as White, 19.8% as Black/African-American, 5.8% as Hispanic, 8.7% as Asian American, and 3.2% as another racial group or belonging to two or more racial groups.  The report indicates that this represents a slight increase of 1.81% in the percentage of minority employees in 2016 from 2015, with a corresponding slight decrease in white employees.

With regard to procurement, the report indicates that in FY 2016, the CFPB entered into “contract actions” totaling approximately $190.0 million.  Of the total contract dollars awarded in FY 2016, the report states that 8.75% went to women-owned businesses and 17.50% went to minority-owned businesses (consisting of businesses owned by Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans and American Indians/Alaskan Natives and “Others”).

As noted above, the Final Standards cover not only a regulated entity’s diversity policies and practices relating to employment, but also cover its procurement and business practices.  Thus, banks and other regulated entities may want to take note of the section of the report describing the CFPB’s efforts to increase vendor diversity.  Such efforts include participating in procurement events and conducting other outreach targeted at establishing connections and recruiting diverse suppliers.

In addition to its annual OMWI report, the CFPB also issued its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program status report for FY 2016 and its Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act) Annual Report for FY 2016 

Pursuant to a directive of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency must submit an annual report that evaluates whether the agency is establishing and maintaining effective programs of equal employment opportunity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The CFPB’s EEO program status report includes a description of the CFPB’s EEO program activities, a description of  internal assessments conducted by the CFPB to identify and prevent barriers to employment in the workplace, a plan regarding future steps to correct deficiencies or improve the EEO program, and data regarding the race, national origin, gender, and disability status of the CFPB’s workforce.

The CFPB’s No FEAR Act annual report includes data regarding complaints filed against the CFPB involving federal laws covered by the No Fear Act, which include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Ballard Spahr’s Diversity Team advises clients on the design and implementation of diversity and inclusion programs and counsels regulated entities on developing and implementing diversity programs.