In our first week on the job, Professor Elizabeth Warren set a goal for the new consumer bureau: to reach out to small, independent bankers from all 50 states before July 21st. We are excited to announce that she has reached her goal early after speaking to bank heads from Arizona, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Connecticut.
From Hawaii to Maine to Texas to Florida, we have engaged in thoughtful discussions with hundreds of bankers who come from all walks of life. We are grateful to them for the time they have spent with us, and we have listened closely to their thoughts and concerns. As we’ve worked toward our 50-state goal, we’ve tracked our progress with a map in my office. The pushpins below are a small piece of it; we’ve also kept it up to date here on the website.
Speaking to bankers from all 50 states is a starting point. But making sure bankers will be able to continue effectively serving their customers cannot stop after a single meeting. We will continue to engage with the small institutions that help to create a robust and diversified financial services marketplace.
As part of this mission, Professor Warren was the keynote speaker at the Independent Community Bankers Association’s annual conference in Southern California last month. She spoke to more than 1,500 community bank CEOs about the new bureau’s top priorities and our commitment to engage with community banks as we build the CFPB. As she says in the clip below, there are issues they understand all too well, and we need them to share that knowledge.
During my many visits with you, I’ve heard about the high cost of regulatory compliance. I understand the difficulty of determining what is or is not required by a particular regulation – and the costs that creates. I appreciate the widespread anxiety and frustration over the future of community banks and other small financial institutions. I know that you want a regulatory structure that doesn’t require an army of lawyers. Big banks may be able to afford to hire all those lawyers, but you cannot.
This is what you have said to me in visits all around the country: Community banks work hard to build long-term partnerships with the families they serve. Community banks didn’t cause this financial crisis. And badly done regulation can further weaken our community banks, significantly increasing the pressures they face. How should the new consumer bureau incorporate these lessons into its work?