CFPB expands technologist hiring program

Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services in April. His agency is embarking on an effort to hire a cadre of technologists.

Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services in April. His agency is embarking on an effort to hire a cadre of technologists. Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A top agency official says the agency needs more technologists to help it achieve its core mission.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants more technologists to help the agency understand and regulate the technologies cropping up in the consumer financial marketplace.

“In recent years, we have seen tech giants seek to extend their reach into currency and payments while companies develop algorithms that increasingly make more decisions about our financial lives,” wrote Erie Meyer, the agency’s chief technologist, formerly of the U.S. Digital Service, in a Thursday announcement of the news.

“These new and emerging technologies are changing how pre-existing products and services work or creating entirely new ones. We need more technologists serving in the ranks of our financial regulators,” she continued.

This move is meant to build on an agency pilot program started in February 2022 where data scientists worked in supervision and enforcement teams in the agency.

Now, CFPB wants to add about 25 designers, product management experts, user experience experts and engineers to the program. They’ll diversify teams of lawyers and economists, and help the agency keep pace with the private sector, the agency says.

Firms might use what’s known as “dark patterns,” or designs meant to manipulate users, for example, Meyer wrote, and techies can help find and deter them. 

Other new hires might dig into the models financial institutions use to decide eligibility, or look into tech companies’ use of data collected from consumer transactions.

“The core work of the CFPB – ensuring that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive – relies on a deep understanding of how the markets we regulate work,” wrote Meyer. “To do this, we need people with diverse perspectives and skillsets in the room.”

Those hired will be appointed for two year stints, with the opportunity for it to be extended to up to four years. The jobs can be remote, meaning that the agency can hire across the U.S., according to the agency’s webpage on the program. 

Open jobs include technologist positions with a pay band from $112,154-$170,560, program technologists with a salary range of $117,876-$214,923 and senior technologists with a range of $138,502-$240,000. 

The agency is able to offer higher salaries than those available to most federal employees under the General Schedule pay scale because CFPB is funded out of the Federal Reserve. A 2021 bill offered by a group of Senate Republicans sought to roll back the CFPB's pay scale to General Schedule levels.

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