Mulvaney Should Quit Fantasizing and Fulfill the CFPB’s Consumer Protection Mission

CFPB’s “Acting Director” Says He Wants the Bureau to be a “Gold Standard” Regulatory Agency like the SEC – He Can’t Even Match the Work of Previous CFPB Director 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Bloomberg News profile, Mick Mulvaney says he wants the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to be the “gold standard” of regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Even if one ignores the SEC’s shoddy record on Wall Street accountability, Mulvaney has a long way to go if he can’t even match the success of the CFPB’s previous director.

Since Mulvaney became “Acting Director” of the bureau in November, the SEC has initiated 55 enforcement actions while the CFPB has done only one on his watch and it actually began before he took over. Of course, the SEC’s budget dwarfs the CFPB’s (in 2019 the SEC requested $1.658 billion while Mulvaney requested $0 for the CFPB). That said, when Mulvaney’s seven-month tenure is measured against the previous director’s final seven months, he doesn’t do any better. Richard Cordray initiated 14 enforcement actions during that period.

Mick Mulvaney clearly has no desire for the CFPB to achieve its stated mission of protecting consumers. Rather than fantasizing about transforming the CFPB into a government agency like the SEC that many see as ineffective at holding Wall Street accountable, he should use the power of the CFPB to protect consumers and go after financial predators. The CFPB was doing just fine before Mulvaney arrived,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

What You Need To Know

  • In a May 2018 Bloomberg article, Mick Mulvaney mused that he wanted the CFPB to become a “‘gold-standard’” regulator like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mulvaney said that to become more like the SEC, the bureau would need to disassociate itself from its origins as the brainchild of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. [David Leonard and Elizabeth Dexheimer, “Mick Mulvaney Is Having a Blast Running the Agency He Detests,” Bloomberg, 05/25/18]
  • During that same time-period (180 days), the CFPB has reported engaging in a single enforcement action… which was in the works before Mulvaney got there. Under Mulvaney’s leadership, the CFPB “didn’t make its first enforcement action… until mid-April, when it fined Wells Fargo & Co. a record $1 billion for deceptive auto loan practices.” Former CFPB staffers noted that “Mulvaney had little to do with the case, which was opened by Cordray and in the works long before Mulvaney arrived.” [“CFPB Press Releases since November 27, 2018,” CFPB.gov, accessed 05/25/18  and David Leonard and Elizabeth Dexheimer, “Mick Mulvaney Is Having a Blast Running the Agency He Detests,” Bloomberg, 05/25/18]

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