This week the CFPB announced the creation of the Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison to “connect the CFPB with bank and nonbank trade associations, financial institutions, and businesses to enhance collaboration and communication as the Bureau continues in its work to make markets more accessible and efficient for consumers.” In the CFPB’s announcement, Director Cordray remarked that, “[a]s the Bureau moves forward with its important work, we continue to build a strong, talented team and to enhance our outreach to all stakeholders involved in improving markets for consumers and responsible businesses.” Patty Briotta, spokesperson for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), told the Credit Union Times that the NAFCU appreciates open line of communication the CFPB has provided thus far, and will utilize the newly created office to continue advocating for credit unions. This new office will be headed up by Dan Smith. Mr. Smith comes to the CFPB from Freddie Mac where he served as the Director for Industry and State Relations at Freddie Mac. Prior to working at Freddie Mac, Mr. Smith represented Fortune 500 companies as Vice President at Dehart and Darr Associates.

Whether creation of this office is just “window dressing” to placate critics of the CFPB or an earnest attempt by the CFPB to open the lines of communication between financial institutions and trade groups further remains to be seen.