OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, a controversial appointment by President Trump to also serve as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting director, delivered his first Semi-Annual Report of the CFPB to the House (Wednesday) and Senate (Thursday) this week. Here is the U.S. PIRG Statement for the Hearing Record. Excerpt:
Agency Actions that Put Consumers at Risk
From the outset, the potential for Mr. Mulvaney using his platform as acting director to promote his and the administration’s own agenda over the mission of the agency was great. We’ve quickly seen evidence of those conflicts of interest. During his tenure, the Consumer Bureau has taken actions that put consumers at risk of unfair practices, including:
- Announcing its intention to open a rulemaking to reconsider and delay the CFPB’s payday lending rule that requires payday lenders to make sure borrowers can repay their loans. This rule was crafted over several years of research, public input, and compromise.
- Dropping its lawsuit against four online lenders that it had accused of deceiving consumers by collecting debts not legally owed, for loans with interest rates as high as 950 percent.
- Pulling back from a full-scale investigation into the massive Equifax data breach, according to news reports.Since these reports came out, Acting Director Mulvaney indicated that the Consumer Bureau is continuing its investigation by claiming the agency’s “position” on Equifax hasn’t changed. But it’s unclear whether or not it is backing up its position by using all of its available tools to complete a robust investigation into the breach.
- Planning a Call for Evidence, entailing 12 Requests for Information (RFI), seeking public comments about CFPB practices without planning any RFIs about marketplace practices. In contrast, during the preceding year, the CFPB issued 3 RFIs for assessments of significant rules and 4 RFIs about marketplace practices.