Mulvaney plans to move some consumer bureau staff to new Atlanta office

Mulvaney plans to move some consumer bureau staff to new Atlanta office
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) plans to relocate a group of employees from Washington, D.C., to a new satellite office in Atlanta in an effort to reduce costs.

Acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? On The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions MORE is seeking to open the regional office to host a small number of analysts and managers who work with agency examiners assigned to financial institutions in the southeast United States, according to a senior agency official familiar with the plans. The staffers would be moved from a CFPB office in downtown Washington, near the bureau’s headquarters, to a building in Atlanta owned by the General Services Administration.

The move is expected to take place within the next nine to 15 months, the official said.

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The CFPB confirmed the planned move, telling The Hill that it will "align the Bureau with its regulatory partners that already have a regional presence in Atlanta" such as the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

"The city selection process led to Atlanta as the city that best enables the Bureau to fulfill its statutory mission and enhance its collaboration with its regulatory partners, while being as efficient as possible," the agency said in a statement to The Hill, adding that the agency's Southeast regional team has been based out of Washington since the CFPB opened in 2011.

Affected employees were informed of the move in a Tuesday meeting with president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) chapter representing CFPB employees, the official said.

NTEU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CFPB has regional offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco along with its headquarters across the street from the White House. The bureau also leases office space in downtown Washington, which would be surrendered after its employees are moved to Atlanta.

The agency had considered opening a southeastern branch under former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayWatchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves House rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau MORE, according to the official, but decided that it would not be worth the cost.

Mulvaney, the White House budget director who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign buys full page ads in Miami newspapers ahead of Dem debates Trump administration's 'forced diplomacy' with Iran isn't working Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama MORE to replace Cordray last year, has mulled relocating some CFPB employees to cut spending. The acting director also reportedly considered moving the bureau’s headquarters out of Washington, with Dallas as a potential new home.

The senior agency official said Mulvaney is not expected to move additional employees to Atlanta beyond the analysts and managers for examiners serving the southeast.

CFPB employees have privately questioned whether opening a new office would save money for the agency since bureau examiners are often based from their homes. Some staffers have speculated that the move could be intended to thin out the number of CFPB staff through attrition.

Mulvaney has proposed sweeping changes to rein in the CFPB’s spending after railing against the bureau’s power as a GOP congressman. He has called on Congress to exert oversight of the CFPB’s budget through the annual appropriations process and to give Capitol Hill final say over the agency’s proposed regulations.

The independent federal agency, which was established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, has been largely opposed by GOP lawmakers who say it exerts too much regulatory control over the financial services industry.

Mulvaney is leading the CFPB in an acting capacity until the Senate confirms a full-time replacement. Trump in June nominated Kathleen Kraninger, an associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget, to be the CFPB’s permanent director.

The Senate Banking Committee approved her nomination last month in a partisan 13-12 vote, and the full chamber is expected to confirm her by the end of the year.

Updated at 12:04 p.m.