CFPB fair lending head to depart for Fannie Mae

Patrice Ficklin, who has served at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since the agency’s founding in 2011, will depart for Fannie Mae to serve as the government-sponsored enterprise’s fair lending officer. The news was first reported by American Banker.

Ficklin has been a mainstay at the CFPB, overseeing the launch of the bureau’s fair lending office and leading it through more than 13 years’ worth of full-time directors and presidential administrations from both sides of political aisle.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra praised Ficklin’s fair lending work in a statement published by American Banker.

“Patrice’s leadership has shaped the CFPB’s fair lending program from the agency’s beginning,” Chopra told the outlet. “I’m grateful for everything she has done to fight discrimination and make our markets fairer.”

Prior to joining the CFPB in May 2011, Ficklin served as counsel at civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC for two years. She previously served at Fannie Mae in multiple roles from 1997 to 2009, including stints as director of the offices of corporate justice, corporate justice and employment practices, and human resources at different points between 1997 and 2002.

She then became Fannie’s associate general counsel for fair lending from 2002 to 2007, and was associate general counsel for customer strategies and consumer law from 2007 to 2009.

In an interview with American Banker, Ficklin assessed some of what she oversaw during her time at the CFPB and said she hopes that momentum can continue into the future.

“I was a private sector attorney and I can remember hearing at conferences this sort of deep resistance to the idea of compliance management systems existing outside of mortgage origination in other business lines, such as mortgage servicing for auto finance or credit cards,” she said. “I think one of the things I’m proudest of is that today across stakeholders — whether it’s industry or consumers or advocates — there’s much more awareness of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the protections that it promises.

“And so many folks in banks and nonbanks have invested significant resources in fair lending compliance. We see fair lending professionals much more deeply embedded in their company’s operations and across different business lines. I’m excited about that, and I’m hopeful that that will continue to grow”

The anti-discrimination posture of the CFPB has strengthened significantly under the tenure of Chopra. According to American Banker, the CFPB set records last year with 18 referrals to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) tied to alleged fair lending violations and the initiation of 28 fair lending examinations or reviews.

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