Mulvaney’s CFPB Playing ‘Favorites’ In Their Press Releases

According to a New Report, the “Acting Director” of the Consumer Bureau Bows Down to Industry Lobbyists, Refuses to Even Criticize Bad Financial Actors in Press Materials


WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a National Law Journal report, Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has softened the language it uses in press releases announcing penalties and enforcement actions against big banks, predatory lenders, and others — the length and detail are also noticeably shorter than materials released under the previous director. Such changes help bad financial actors and disincentivizes more ethical corporate behavior.

Mick Mulvaney continues to give a pass to big banks and predatory lenders by reducing fines they may have incurred under the previous CFPB Director and placing the burden on consumers when it comes to getting their money back. Now he’s even going to bat to protect the brands of these bad financial actors in the media. The message sent by blunting the wording in press releases tells other businesses that they won’t be held accountable for their unethical behavior – this is irresponsible and reckless,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

What You Need To Know

  • CFPB has softened language announcing enforcement actions under Mick Mulvaney’s leadership.The CFPB’s press release announcing their action against Wells Fargo under Richard Cordray’s leadership was four times as long as the one announcing action against Wells Fargo under Mick Mulvaney’s leadership. Furthermore, Mick Mulvaney was not even quoted in press releases announcing two recent enforcement actions. [C. Ryan Barber, “Mulvaney’s CFPB News Releases Embrace Industry’s Yearning for Soft Touch,National Law Journal, 07/03/18]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]

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