Rep. Patrick McHenry will hear testimony this week on alleged discrimination and retaliation within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created in response to the financial crisis.
On Wednesday, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will hold the hearing and hear from a CFPB whistleblower. McHenry is chairman of the subcommittee.
The hearing comes amid allegations that the bureau's managers have given higher scores on performance evaluations to white employees than minorities. The scores are used to award raises and bonuses.
American Banker reported on the alleged discrimination this month. In addition, morale at the bureau is poor and management has been accused of favoring white men and creating a hostile work environment, the publication said it found after interviewing a dozen current and former CFPB staffers.
McHenry, whose district runs just west of the Catawba River to Asheville to the east, said the CFPB refused to send anyone to testify at the hearing.
“Discrimination and retaliation are unacceptable," McHenry said in a statement. "It’s unfortunate and deeply troubling that the CFPB refuses to answer questions about these allegations, particularly when the bureau’s grounds for doing so are patently frivolous in light of the fact that their employee is voluntarily appearing to tell her story.
"The hearing will go forward, with or without the CFPB’s participation.”
The CFPB could not be immediately reached for comment. Here's the response American Banker said it received:
CFPB spokesman Sam Gilford says the agency is still analyzing the performance evaluation data and indicated that it's preliminary and could change "depending on the outcome of pending reviews and appeals."
"The CFPB is committed to fairness and equity in the workplace as well as the marketplace," Gilford said. "Just as we often remind lenders that strong compliance management systems are critical to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws, the bureau has taken a compliance management approach in monitoring and evaluating its own performance rating process."McHenry, a Republican, has been critical of the CFPB before. In July, he said the bureau's structure was flawed and lacked accountability to Congress and the American people.