On October 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) announced leadership changes in two positions: the assistant director for the Office of Supervision Policy and the assistant director for the Office of Enforcement.
Lorelei Salas joined the Bureau as assistant director for the Office of Supervision Policy and will also serve as the acting assistant director for supervision examinations. Erin Halperin joined the CFPB as assistant director for the Office of Enforcement.
“Lorelei Salas and Eric Halperin are both distinguished public servants with deep expertise in consumer protection,” said Chopra. “Together, they will be effective watchdogs over the financial marketplace, especially when it comes to stopping repeat offenders.”
From 2016 to 2021, Salas served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, where she aggressively pursued corporations employing unlawful, predatory practices targeting low-income and immigrant consumers. Previously, Salas was the legal director at Make the Road New York, where she supervised immigration, housing, and employment legal services programs designed to increase access to justice for immigrants and refugees. In 2009, President Obama nominated Salas as the wage and hour administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor. She also worked at the Office of the New York State Attorney General in the Litigation and Labor bureaus and held multiple senior management positions at the New York State Department of Labor.
Salas is the recipient of Open Society Foundations’ Leadership in Government fellowship and has served as a Fulbright specialist with expertise in U.S. consumer and worker protection laws. Before launching her legal career, Salas worked as a private sector auditor, investigating companies’ compliance with federal and state workplace laws, as well as their own codes of conduct. She earned an A.A. from LaGuardia Community College, a B.A. from Hunter College, and a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Halperin has served in numerous positions in the nonprofit and government sectors. Most recently, Halperin was CEO of Civil Rights Corps. From 2010 to 2014, he served in leadership roles in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), first as special counsel for fair lending and later as acting deputy assistant attorney general overseeing the division’s fair housing, fair lending, and employment enforcement programs. While in those roles, he received the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, the DOJ’s highest award for excellence in legal performance, and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. Halperin received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Our Take. It’s not unusual — it’s indeed expected — that CFPB, an agency whose mission and purpose the previous administration was hostile toward, needed to make leadership changes to align its goals and objectives with the current administration. Chopra’s new picks for the two leadership positions, Salas and Halperin, share similar backgrounds and enforcement objectives with Chopra and the current administration. The CFPB, under Chopra, whose confirmation we reported on here, is expected to continue engaging in aggressive enforcement and expansive regulation. With the two new leadership picks, Chopra will continue focusing on more enforcement, giving particular attention to consumers more prone to abusive practices.