CFPB Acting Director Appoints Paul Watkins as Director of Office of Innovation

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Desirée Patno is the CEO and President of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). With almost three decades specializing in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem, she leads her executive team’s expertise of championing women’s economic growth and independence.

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) announces the appointment of Paul Watkins as Director of the new Office of Innovation. Watkins, a lawyer from the Arizona Office of the Attorney General who leads its fintech initiatives, will be responsible for overseeing the Office’s mission of “consumer-friendly innovation,” according to the press release.

The Office of Innovation, created by Acting Director Mulvaney, has taken over the work of the CFPB’s Project Catalyst and will carry out its statutory mandate to “promote competition, innovation, and consumer access within financial services.” The new office, under Watkins’s supervision, will meet this end by creating policy, integrating entrepreneurs and regulators and mitigating any regulations deemed superfluous.

“I am delighted that Paul Watkins is bringing his deep expertise, track record of protecting consumers, and commitment to innovation to the Bureau,” stated Acting Director Mulvaney in the CFPB’s press release. “I am confident that, under his leadership, the Office of Innovation will make significant progress in creating an environment where companies can advance new products and services without being unduly restricted by red tape that belongs in the 20th century.”

In addition to working in the Arizona Office of the Attorney General, Watkins’s experience includes managing the FinTech Regulatory Sandbox, the first in the nation to give companies “limited access to the marketplace in exchange for relaxing some regulations,” and serving as Chief Counsel for the Litigation Division and Clerk for Judge Dennis W. Shedd on the United States of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has also practiced in a number of law firms throughout California.

NAWRB looks forward to tracking Watkins’s contribution to the development of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation as the Bureau directs its focus on encouraging innovation to assist consumer finance markets.

Read the full press release here.

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