CFPB “Acting Director” Eased Off Investigating Equifax, Policing Predatory Lenders Targeting Servicemembers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mick Mulvaney’s CFPB has issued a warning to military servicemembers about how their security clearances which are often necessary to perform their duties could be negatively affected by errors on their credit reports and irresponsible financial behavior. This after Mulvaney pulled back on a full-fledged probe of the Equifax data breach and his widely covered decision to ease Military Lending Act (MLA) supervision of and enforcement against predatory lenders that target servicemembers.
“If our brave men and women in uniform need any warning it’s to keep an eye on Mick Mulvaney and the risk he has exposed them to at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It takes some nerve to warn servicemembers about the risks credit report errors pose to their security clearances after pulling back on the CFPB’s Equifax investigation,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
He continued, “Mulvaney has pulled back on the CFPB’s aggressive enforcement of the Military Lending Act that protects servicemembers and their families from financial scammers. Now he has the audacity to warn them about the risks of irresponsible financial behavior? These men and women have risked their lives protecting our freedoms — they deserve more than a lecture from Mulvaney and the CFPB.”
Additionally, Mulvaney’s CFPB decided earlier this year to pull back from a full-fledged investigation into Equifax, which failed to protect the personal financial data of millions of Americans and put nearly 200,000 servicemembers stationed overseas at risk. It was later discovered that Mulvaney received thousands in campaign cash from the company’s PAC.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In August 2018, Mulvaney’s CFPB Warned Servicemembers About Financial Threats to Their Security Clearances Including from Incorrect Credit Reports or Overdue Bills
- On August 20, 2018, the CFPB put out a blog post warning servicemembers about financial threats to their security clearances.The post noted that “a past-due bill or an error on your credit report could jeopardize your clearance status” and encouraged servicemembers to “stay on top of their bills and monitor their credit histories.” [Anthony Camilli and Joshua Friedman, “WARNO: New security clearance guidelines make it more important than ever for servicemembers to monitor their credit,” gov, 08/20/18]
However, Just a Week Earlier Mulvaney’s CFPB Decided to Ease off Predatory Lenders Who Target Servicemembers
- In August 2018, it was reported that the Trump Administration was proposing to roll back enforcement of the Military Lending Act, and weaken laws aimed at protecting servicemembers who buy cars. [Chris Arnold, “White House Takes Aim At Financial Protections For Military,” NPR, 08/13/18]
- Also, in August 2018, the CFPB announced that it would no longer use “supervisory examinations of lenders” to find violations of the Military Lending Act and will instead rely solely on consumer complaints. [Glenn Thrush, “Mulvaney Looks to Weaken Oversight of Military Lending,” The New York Times, 08/10/18]
After Previously Pulling the CFPB Back from a Full-Scale Probe of Equifax When the Company Failed to Protect Consumer Data, Leaving Nearly 200,000 Servicemembers Stationed Overseas at Risk
- In early February 2018, it was reported that Mick Mulvaney was pulling the CFPB “back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers” On February 5, 2018, Reutersreported that “Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.” [Patrick Rucker, “Exclusive: U.S. consumer protection official puts Equifax probe on ice – sources,”Reuters, 02/05/18]
- Previously, Sens. Dean Heller and Joe Donnelly wrote to Equifax officials requesting details on what the company would do to help servicemembers affected by the breach. The Senators pointed out that the nearly 200,000 servicemembers stationed overseas, “may lack the access and resources required to place a credit freeze on their files or take other necessary measures to adequately protect their personal information” potentially leaving them “especially vulnerable to identity theft and financial fraud in the days, months, and years ahead.” [Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dean Heller, “Letter to Equifax,” 09/19/17]
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