Entire operation of federal consumer regulator under review

19 January, 2018, 02:08 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Entire operation of federal consumer regulator under review

Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Board says it will reconsider the tighter regulation that would have required payday lenders to make sure the people they lend to can actually repay their loans.

"The CFPB thoroughly and thoughtfully considered every aspect of this issue over the course of several years", Karl Frisch, executive director of progressive group Allied Progress, said in a statement. "Moving forward, the Bureau will consistently seek out constructive feedback and welcome ideas for improvement", stated CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

The bureau has provided Americans with billions of dollars in refunds and debt relief, often at banks' expense. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's independent funding structure has been key to its success, which in just six years has returned almost $12 billion to more than 29 million impacted consumers.

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"In this New Year, and under new leadership, it is natural for the bureau to critically examine its policies and practices to ensure they align with the bureau's statutory mandate", Mulvaney said in a press release. "Much can be done to facilitate greater consumer choice and efficient markets, while vigorously enforcing consumer financial law in a way that guarantees due process".

While the case continues to work through the courts, consumer advocates have expressed concern about Mulvaney's power to upend the CFPB, because he has a lengthy record of opposing, and even trying to eliminate, the agency.

Mulvaney took over as acting director after the bureau's first leader, Richard Cordray, stepped down in November to pursue the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio.

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In upcoming weeks the bureau will begin publishing a series of "requests for information" in the Federal Register.

A CFPB spokesman referred questions about what specifically the bureau plans to do with the payday lending rule to Mulvaney's office in the White House, which declined to comment beyond the original statement. His control is facing a legal challenge from CFPB deputy director Leandra English.

"Millions of Americans will have few other options to cover urgent expenses like rent, a vehicle payment, or a medical emergency if regulators succeed in shutting off access to small dollar loans", said Daniel Press, CEI policy analyst and author of the report, How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Payday Loan Rule Hurts the Working Poor. When Mulvaney assumed the role of acting director after Thanksgiving, he imposed a temporary hiring freeze and a freeze on all new regulations and guidance for 30 days, along with a separate freeze on civil penalty payments. The bureau also said it would grant waivers to companies as the first sets of regulations going into effect later this year. Last week, a federal judge denied a request by English for a preliminary injunction to remove Mulvaney from the job.

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