Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray testifies on the Hill.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray testifies on the Hill. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP file photo

Consumer Protection Bureau Spends More on Ads Than Most Other Agencies

CFPB is still under attack from Republican lawmakers, who see it as too aggressive.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is spending more than nearly all other agencies on advertising to boost its mission, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The paper’s review of contract awards found that the agency -- which remains in the crosshairs of Republican lawmakers who see its rulemaking as too aggressive -- has spent $15.3 million so far in fiscal 2016 on Internet ads to educate consumers on its tools for preventing exploitation from mortgages, student loans and retirement plans.

“Much of the spending flows through one contract, the tenth-largest advertising contract awarded by any government agency out of more than 2,000 advertising contracts so far in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30,” the Journal wrote. Only the Defense and Transportation departments spent more.

The newspaper’s analysis is based on data from the website.

CFPB’s online ads steer consumers to the agency’s website student loan page, for example, so “students can see now what they’ll owe later, causing fewer headaches when they start their careers.”

When mortgage loan shoppers type “closing costs” into common search engines, they will encounter CFPB ads.

The agency has been under fire most recently for its proposed rule cracking down on abuses in the payday loan industry.

In response to the Journal’s queries, CFPB spokeswoman Moira Vahey said, “The CFPB is a new agency with a mission and mandate that requires direct engagement with American consumers. We are using all available channels to engage the people we serve.”