Thank you all for joining this public session of the annual meeting of our Academic Research Council. It is impressive to see so many people here this morning to participate in the session.
Let me start by noting that we truly appreciate the opportunity to discuss consumer finance issues with the experts in the field. They generously take time to share their perspective and expertise to help us consider how we can best protect and empower consumers in the financial marketplace. We are grateful for their interest and their thoughtfulness.
As all of you here probably know, Congress created the Consumer Bureau’s Office of Research as an integral part of the financial reform law. Specifically, the Dodd-Frank Act charges this Office with “researching, analyzing, and reporting on – developments in markets for consumer financial products or services . . . ; access to fair and affordable credit for traditionally underserved communities; consumer awareness, understanding, and use of disclosures…; consumer awareness and understanding of costs, risks, and benefits of consumer financial products or services; consumer behavior with respect to consumer financial products or services, including performance on mortgage loans; and experiences of traditionally underserved consumers, including un-banked and under-banked consumers.” That is an important and really an immense charge, and our team works at it with commendable vigor and creativity and focus. I plan to talk more about our authority and our responsibilities at the opening of the research conference later today.
For this morning, let me point out that early in our history, we established the Academic Research Council to support the Office of Research in this mission. The Council is composed of scholars with diverse and relevant methodological expertise and subject-matter experience, drawn from a wide range of institutions. The Council advises us on research methodologies, data collection, and analytical strategies. It also provides us with valuable feedback about our research, which has helped us greatly so far.
We are quite aware of how fortunate we are that these leaders in their fields have been willing to advise the Consumer Bureau about our direction and our objectives. So let me thank the Council members for their participation and their service. Your involvement with us helps ensure that our research is held to the highest standards and that we are able to maintain close and important ties with leaders in academia. We look forward to what we know will be a fruitful and most interesting set of discussions this morning.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.