Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urged executives in the banking industry to put pressure on lawmakers if they want to see their agendas realized, even saying as a lawmaker he would meet only with lobbyists that had contributed to his campaign.
Speaking in front of 1,300 bankers and lending executives at the American Bankers Association conference this week, Mulvaney was quoted by CNBC as saying that lobbyists who never gave his campaign money would be ignored while lobbyists who did contribute may have received a meeting with Mulvaney in return. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” said Mulvaney.
CNBC noted that Mulvaney had gotten close to $63,000 from payday lenders when he was a lawmaker. As the acting director of the CFPB, Mulvaney has reduced efforts by the government watchdog to go after the payday lending industry — as well as auto lenders and financial services companies that have been accused of going after consumers who are in weak financial positions. Mulvaney is an outspoken critic of the CFPB, even called for the funding from the Federal Reserve to the CFPB to end, which would give lawmakers more oversight and influence over what the CFPB can do. He called on the financial services industry during the speech to help push his legislation, saying trying to get lawmakers on the side of a company or cause is the “fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy. And you have to continue to do it.”
Mulvaney also used the speech to announce moves that are aimed at limiting the power of the CFPB, including reducing public access to the database of consumer complaints. He also wants to call the agency by its official name — the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection — which is an effort to lower the public profile of the CFPB. “I’m trying to get in the habit of now saying the ‘B.C.F.P.’ It’s really, really hard to do that when you’ve said the C.F.P.B. for so long,” Mulvaney said during the presentation.