Alumnus named to new federal post

Northeastern alumnus Steven L. Antonakes, PhD’98, has been selected to a leadership position in the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Antonakes, who has served as the Massachusetts commissioner of banks since 2003, will head the CFPB’s Bank Supervision Group. He will supervise examinations of the country’s largest banks and credit unions to ensure they are complying with federal consumer protection laws and regulations.

Antonakes earned his doctorate in Northeastern’s Law, Policy and Society program, which examines the law, legal institutions, and public policy from an interdisciplinary social science perspective. Students engage in policy analysis and applied research in a range of fields, including crime, law and justice, race and gender policy, health policy, and education and workforce development.

“My Northeastern experience not only sharpened my legal and analytical skills, but also taught me the value of considering complex policy issues from multiple perspectives,” Antonakes said.

The bureau was created earlier this year as part of the major financial reform legislation. The federal watchdog bureau is charged with regulating financial institutions and overseeing consumer financial products, as well as addressing consumer problems in these areas. The bureau was created to protect consumers from unfair, abusive practices and improve transparency in the financial sector, with oversight in areas such as mortgage lending and credit card laws.

For the last two decades, Antonakes has ascended through the ranks of the Commonwealth’s Division of Banks, beginning his career as a bank examiner in 1990. The Division of Banks oversees 240 state-chartered banks and credit unions, as well as thousands of other financial entities, and is an agency within the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.