The CFPB has posted new job openings for technologists to work with its supervision and enforcement teams.  The CFPB is seeking experts in data science, software engineering, product design, product management, and user experience (UX).  The job postings indicate that the CFPB is willing to invest significant resources in building its understanding of and capability to challenge the use of newer and emerging technologies by consumer financial service providers. They serve to underscore the need for financial institutions to be in a position to defend their use of newer technologies when they are scrutinized.

The postings are an expansion of a CFPB pilot program started in February 2022 to embed people with technical expertise within its supervision and enforcement teams.  While the pilot focused on better integrating data scientists within those teams, the expansion is intended to add individuals with additional skill sets such as designers, product management experts, and engineers.

In a blog post about the job openings, the CFPB makes clear that it intends to use the technologists to support its scrutiny of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, and in particular, to assist in investigations regarding whether the use of such technologies is furthering discrimination or other consumer harm.  For example, the CFPB’s job posting includes technologists with the following experience:

  • Data Science & Strategy: Examine large datasets using scripting languages or modern statistical analyses and computational languages (e.g. Python, R, SQL) to investigate allegations that financial institutions have broken the law. Use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, logistic and linear regression models, or natural language processing (NLP) to detect, anticipate and prevent potential consumer harm or anticompetitive conduct.
  • Software Engineering: Design, create, and test systems to dig into investigations. Use front-end, back-end, and full-stack engineering to develop and support new technical strategies that could help effectively protect consumers.
  • Design & UX: Use expertise to help the CFPB understand how certain UX techniques can be harmful to consumers. Apply human-centered design techniques to policy findings and advocate for consumer needs.

The CFPB’s hiring efforts follow the efforts it initiated at the end of year to recruit whistleblowers.  In a blog post titled “CFPB Calls Tech Workers to Action, the CFPB made a direct appeal to “engineers, data scientists and others who have detailed knowledge of the algorithms and technologies used by companies and who know of potential discrimination or other misconduct within the CFPB’s authority to report it to us.”

Smart regulation requires that regulators understand the markets, products, and practices they regulate.  More than ever, the consumer finance industry employs new technologies in order to better serve customers, and we applaud the CFPB’s efforts to expand its technological expertise.