The core work of the CFPB – ensuring that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive – relies on a deep understanding of how the markets we regulate work. To do this, we need people with diverse perspectives and skillsets in the room.
In February 2022, we began a pilot program to embed people with technical expertise within our supervision and enforcement teams to strengthen our work of holding companies and individuals accountable. Today, we’re announcing an expansion of this work.
Our pilot focused on better integrating data scientists within the CFPB’s supervision and enforcement teams, and will now expand to include designers, product management experts, engineers, and more. Applications are now open to join our team of technologists.
What will the work look like?
In recent years, we have seen tech giants seek to extend their reach into currency and payments while companies develop algorithms that increasingly make more decisions about our financial lives. These new and emerging technologies are changing how preexisting products and services work or creating entirely new ones. We need more technologists serving in the ranks of our financial regulators. These technology-based positions will play a key role in helping us understand and regulate the constantly evolving financial marketplace. For example:
- Sometimes firms design their user interfaces to trick us into doing things we don’t mean to do. Our technologists will use their background in user experience or product design to help detect and deter dark patterns designed to take advantage of people.
- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act safeguards against discrimination in consumer finance, but with the explosion of business models that rely on surveillance rather than service delivery, we must deeply understand these products and the data that informs them. Our product management and data-focused technologists will inform this work and help untangle unfair product decisions.
- Too many financial institutions still rely on rickety mainframes. Technologists with software engineering backgrounds will help ensure that we're spotting risks to the economy, ensuring that oversight is possible, and helping hold firms to account when system deficiencies harm consumers and violate the law.
What does it mean to be a technologist at the CFPB?
The most effective pitch to recruit top technical talent into government is to be candid about the challenges they’ll be facing. These will be hard but important jobs. This is a chance to go past theoretical discussions of how AI could be used some day, or how ethical design choices might be, and instead directly apply your knowledge and experiences to confront problems that consumers face today.
You’ll work closely with me, the CFPB’s Chief Technologist, as well as other agency staff. Your work will improve the lives of millions of Americans, and we need you. If you have questions, email Technologists@cfpb.gov.