Regulation

Senator Warren Wants More Answers From CFPB’s Mulvaney

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, putting more pressure on acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director, sent a letter asking Mick Mulvaney if he is helping the industries that he is supposed to be overseeing.

The letter was prompted by Mulvaney’s comments last week that he would only talk to lobbyists who gave to his election campaign when he was a congressman. Mulvaney made the comments to a group of bankers, saying that if the industry wants to see their agendas realized, they need to put pressure on lawmakers. Democrats reacted sharply, given that Mulvaney has already taken steps to strip the CFPB of much of its power and rein in laws put in place under former director Richard Cordray.

Mulvaney is an outspoken critic of the CFPB, even calling for an end to funding from the Federal Reserve, which would give lawmakers more oversight and influence over the agency. CNBC reported last week 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, which have been accused of going after consumers who are in weak financial positions.

“Now that you have admitted that financial contributions – rather than solely ‘a careful examination of the law and facts or principle’ – affected your decisions as a member of Congress, I believe you owe the public straight answers to the questions posed in the January 18 letter on the payday rule.” The Senator was referring to a letter she and another lawmaker sent to Mulvaney inquiring about the CFPB’s change in stance to the payday lending industry. “Your recent admission also raises questions about your other official actions at the CFPB. For example, in the same speech at the American Bankers Association conference, you expressed your intention to remove public narratives from the CFPB’s complaint database. That move would allow financial companies to hide scams – even widespread scams – from potential customers, prospective business partners and researchers. It would also weaken a tool that hundreds of thousands of Americans have used to quickly and easily resolve complaints with financial companies.”

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