NYT on the CFPB: “Mick Mulvaney’s Master Class in Destroying the Government From Within”

The New York Times has a lengthy article on Mick Mulvaney's tenure as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This account of Mulvaney’s tenure is based on interviews with more than 60 current or former bureau employees, current and former Mulvaney aides, consumer advocates and financial-industry executives and lobbyists, as well as hundreds of pages of internal bureau documents obtained by The New York Times and others. When Mulvaney took over, the fledgling C.F.P.B. was perhaps Washington’s most feared financial regulator: It announced dozens of cases annually against abusive debt collectors, sloppy credit agencies and predatory lenders, and it was poised to force sweeping changes on the $30 billion payday-loan industry, one of the few corners of the financial world that operates free of federal regulation. What he left behind is an agency whose very mission is now a matter of bitter dispute. “The bureau was constructed really deliberately to protect ordinary people,” says Lisa Donner, the head of Americans for Financial Reform. “He’s taken it apart — dismantled it, piece by piece, brick by brick.”

Although Mulvaney has move don to serve as White House Chief of Staff, he had a notable on the work of the CFPB.

Over the last year, Mulvaney’s temporary hiring freeze has turned into an indefinite one, slowly shrinking the C.F.P.B.’s staff by attrition. Bureau news releases, once packed with colorful details about abusive lending practices, have been toned down to dry legalese. According to a report by Christopher Peterson, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, enforcement at the bureau appears to have dwindled radically. In 2018, the bureau announced just 11 lawsuits or settlements, less than a third of the number during Cordray’s last year. In the months since Mulvaney reorganized the Office of Fair Lending, the bureau has not brought a single case alleging illegal discrimination. While Mulvaney pledged data-driven enforcement, his bureau brought only one case against debt collectors, who account for more complaints to the C.F.P.B. than almost any other industry. Where Mulvaney or his successor have allowed cases to go forward, lenders have often settled with lowered fines or none at all. When the bureau settled a three-year prosecution of a group of payday lenders called NDG Enterprise — which found that the group had falsely threatened American customers with arrest and imprisonment if they failed to repay loans — NDG walked away without paying a cent.

The full article is here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *