Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accused of Racism

Creating ‘hostile work environment,’ allowing bullying

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray / AP

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama has some striking racial disparities, American Banker reports.

At the same time, CFPB is using "statistical differences in loan terms offered to different ethnic groups to sue creditors for unintentional racial bias."

Managers at CFPB frequently rank white employees better than minorities in performance reviews used to decide grant raises and bonuses. "Whites were twice as likely in 2013 to receive the agency's top grade than were African-American or Hispanic employees," according to American Banker.

Additionally, morale is poor and management has been accused of creating a hostile work environment. One hundred fifteen official grievances have been filed with the National Treasury Employees Union since last August. Several unofficial complaints have also been filed.

The most concrete data available on the CFPB's employee evaluations relates to 2013. The agency rated its more than 1,100 staffers on a scale of 1 to 5 and grants greater benefits, including raises and bonuses, to those who receive higher scores.

White employees scored markedly higher than minorities. Overall, 74.6 percent of whites received ratings of 4 or 5, versus 65.5 percent of Asians, 65.2 percent of Hispanics and 57.6 percent of African-Americans, according to an internal CFPB report obtained by American Banker.

The discrepancies were even greater at the ratings range's extremes. At the top, one-fifth of white employees, or 20.7%, received a 5 — and were dubbed "role models" — compared with 10.5 percent of African-Americans and 9.1 percent of Hispanics.

In contrast, a relatively high proportion of minority employees received 3 ratings — the lowest grade given out in large numbers. In total, a rating of 3 was given to 42.4 percent of African-Americans, 34.5 percent of Asians, 34.8 percent of Hispanics and 24.4 percent of Caucasians.

CFPB has touted its diverse staff, according to American Banker. Forty-seven percent of its staff are female, and 34 percent identify themselves as minorities. The average federal regulator has a female staff of 44 percent and minorities make up 29 percent.

Poor morale and bullying claims are also widespread.

Only 36 percent of its employees are satisfied with opportunities to get better jobs, according to a survey.

Several employees expressed fear that management would retaliate against employees who file complaints. "Some say that after they voiced concerns, their performance ratings were lowered, preventing them from receiving raises or promotions," according to American Banker

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