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Consumers Union calls for nomination of permanent CFPB director dedicated to protecting consumers from financial abuses

Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney to testify before Congress after taking steps that weaken the Bureau’s ability to ensure consumers are treated fairly   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is scheduled to testify today and tomorrow before congressional committees after taking a number of steps in recent months to dramatically reshape the agency’s mission and operations.  In advance of the hearing, Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, called on President Trump to nominate a permanent director of the CFPB dedicated to ensuring consumers are treated fairly by banks and other financial firms.

“Mulvaney has undertaken a complete overhaul of the CFPB that has weakened its ability to stand up for consumers,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.   “Instead of focusing squarely on protecting consumers, he has dropped investigations and enforcement actions and directed the CFPB to prioritize easing the rules that banks and other lenders must follow.  Consumers need a CFPB director committed to carrying out its mission not someone intent on muzzling this critical watchdog.  It’s time for President Trump to nominate a permanent director of the CFPB so the Senate can properly vet the nominee, ask the tough questions and consider whether the candidate should be confirmed.”

When Mulvaney was a member of Congress, he co-sponsored legislation to abolish the CFPB and called it a “sick, sad joke.”  In his role as a part-time Acting Director, he has taken a number of troubling steps that undermine the CFPB’s unique and vital consumer protection role.

Under Mulvaney, the CFPB has pulled back on investigations and enforcement actions, including efforts to go after payday lenders charging interest rates as high as 950 percent.  He plans to delay and reconsider the CFPB’s new rules that protect consumers who take payday and auto title loans and turned the agency’s mission on its head by emphasizing deregulation of the financial industry as a top priority.  Earlier this year, Mulvaney moved the Office of Fair Lending out of the Enforcement Division, raising concerns that the CFPB will not take aggressive action against lenders who discriminate against borrowers.  The Trump administration has also proposed shrinking the CFPB’s budget and putting its guaranteed funding at risk by subjecting it to the annual congressional appropriations process.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by Congress following the devastating 2008 financial crisis that cost millions of Americans their homes, jobs, and retirement savings.  It works to make sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat consumers fairly.  And it’s gotten results.  Since it was founded, the CFPB has returned $12 billion to nearly 30 million consumers who’ve been cheated by financial companies and stopped abusive banking, credit card, mortgage, and student loan practices.

Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537 (cell) or 415-431-6747, ext. 7606 or David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262