Mulvaney’s CFPB Shows Leniency Toward Law-Breaking Banks and Predatory Lenders, Makes Consumers Fight For Themselves!
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as America prepares to celebrate its independence, big banks, predatory lenders, and other shady financial institutions couldn’t be happier with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “Acting Director” Mick Mulvaney who has been granting them “independence” from accountability since he took charge of the Bureau in November. On his watch, there have been three major settlements and in each Mulvaney has gone out of his way to make things easier for those who have broken the law:
- WELLS FARGO: Mulvaney is making consumers fight for themselves against the biggest banks that’ve earned the biggest fines.On April 20, 2018, Mick Mulvaney’s CFPB announced a record-breaking fine of $1 billion against Wells Fargo. What he didn’t announce was the settlement’s unprecedented requirements for consumers to demonstrate “‘economic or other cognizable harm'” to Wells Fargo itself before getting their own money back. Wells Fargo has contributed $12,000 in campaign cash to Mulvaney over the years. [Bill Chappell, “Wells Fargo Hit With $1 Billion in Fines Over Home And Auto Loan Abuses,”National Public Radio, 04/20/18; David Dayen, “Mick Mulvaney’s Wells Fargo Settlement Lets the Bank Decide How Consumers Are Paid Back,” The Intercept,04/26/18; [Search for 2012 Cycle Finance, Insurance PAC Donors to Mick Mulvaney, Political Moneyline, accessed 05/07/18; Search for 2014 Cycle Finance, Insurance PAC Donors to Mick Mulvaney, Political Moneyline, accessed 05/07/18; Search for 2016 Cycle Finance, Insurance PAC Donors to Mick Mulvaney, Political Moneyline, accessed 05/07/18]
- CITIBANK: Mulvaney has given free-rides to law-breaking companies who self-report.Mulvaney’s CFPB gave Citibank a pass because it “self-reported [its] violations to the bureau.” But under Richard Cordray, self-reporting companies “typically paid significant fines on top of refunds to customers” to compensate the public for their wrongdoing. Citibank has contributed $18,000 in campaign cash to Mulvaney over the years. [Press Release, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 06/29/18; Kate Berry, “Citi forced to pay $335M refund on card malfunction, but no CFPB fine,”American Banker, 06/29/18; Press Release, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 06/19/14; Search for 2014 Cycle Finance, Insurance PAC Donors to Mick Mulvaney, Political Moneyline, accessed 07/03/18; Search for 2016 Cycle Finance, Insurance PAC Donors to Mick Mulvaney, Political Moneyline, accessed 07/03/18]
- SECURITY GROUP: Mulvaney has gone easy on lawbreakers even when they don’t self-report.In June 2018, Mulvaney more than halved the fine that Richard Cordray wanted to levy against Security Group, Inc., a payday lender that harassed consumers and mismanaged their credit report data. Cordray had originally sought a total of $11 million from the company, but Mulvaney ultimately fined it only $5 million.Security Group has contributed thousands of dollars in campaign cash to Mulvaney over the years. [Lee P. Dunham, J.D., “CFPB settles with Security Group, Inc. for alleged CFPA, FCRA violations,” Wolters Kluwer, 06/14/18; Patrick Rucker, “Mulvaney-led U.S. CFPB slashes payday lender penalty: sources,” Reuters, 06/28/18; Press Release, “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Settles With Security Group, Inc.,”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 06/13/18; “Statement of Organization – Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg and Affiliates PAC,” gov, 03/29/09; and “Security Finance Corporation of Spartanburg and Affiliates Political Action Committee – June 2016 Monthly,” FEC.gov, 06/09/16]
These enforcement actions were initiated under the previous CFPB Director, Richard Cordray, who took a far more aggressive posture in defense of consumers than Mulvaney is now demonstrating. To date, Mulvaney has not publicly announced the initiation of a new CFPB enforcement action against any companies for breaking the law.
“Time and again, Mick Mulvaney has given banks and predatory lenders a ‘get out of jail free card’ – especially those who showered him with thousands of dollars in campaign cash. Meanwhile, he’s forcing consumers to jump through hoops to get their money back from the financial bottom feeders that have screwed them over. He has perverted the consumer protection mission of the CFPB and granted big banks, predatory lenders, and other cheats ‘independence’ from accountability,”said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
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