Well, just about everything is different about the CFPB. Not only is there a new official seal, but, apparently the CFPB has adopted a new moniker. This agency no longer wants to be known as the “CFPB” or the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” but rather it wants to be known as the “Bureau” or the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.” Now, one may ask, why, what's the difference?
The official explanation at the Bureau's website about the seal is:
“The seal depicts an eagle with its wings raised across a blue field. Three stars above its head stand for the bureau's three pillars: to serve, lead, and innovate. The eagle's breastplate is a shield symbolizing protection.
The scale on the seal represents the traditional symbol of justice. The key represents consumers' financial security. And the beacon of fire symbolizes transparency in the financial marketplace, along with vigilance and the revelation of knowledge.”
My guess as to the change in name is that in the Dodd-Frank Act, the agency is named the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” and it has just been called by the wrong name for years.
So, what's in a name and a seal?
In my opinion, the change in the seal and the name change, are indicative of deeper changes at the Bureau. There seems to be a concerted effort to remove any vestige of Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Director Richard Cordray's fingerprints from the Bureau, just as there have been continuous changes in the actual mission as proclaimed by Acting Director Mulvaney from time to time.
The latest mission change is evidenced in the Bureau's announcement that it intends to drop the public access to the Bureau's web portal used by consumers to file complaints against financial services companies. For years, we have worried that the portal is a platform for spreading misinformation about creditors, with no due process and no way for creditors to answer and defend their reputations. This factor also led to our suggestion that companies decline to be listed on the portal.
Every day, it seems, we wake up to something new at the CFPB, uh, the Bureau.