Mick Mulvaney Is Dismantling His Own Federal Agency and Failing to Protect US Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was Senator Elizabeth Warren’s baby: a federal agency specifically designed to defend ordinary Americans from predatory financial practices. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis — and numerous companies profiting from subprime mortgages, payday loans and other exploitative practices — it was a huge victory for consumer advocates.

But now, it’s all about to disappear — and the hands dealing the damage are inside the building.

Trump has a history of selecting extremely paradoxical picks to head up federal agencies, like the EPA administrator who hates the EPA. Given that congressional Republicans have long detested the CFPB and everything it stands for, it comes as no small surprise that early into the Trump administration, the agency came under fire.

After unseating the Obama-era head of the agency, Trump installed Mike Mulvaney — a Republican who once called the agency a “joke” — as interim director.

Unsurprisingly, Mulvaney hasn’t been doing much to live up to the mandate of the agency. Senator Warren has criticized the reversal or slowdown of rule-making that could protect American consumers, from servicemembers struggling with exploitative car loans to older adults in need of mortgage renegotiation. In February, some of the agency’s enforcement capabilities were effectively defanged, making it difficult to fulfill the CFPB’s responsibilities and mandate.

This year, Mulvaney requested a budget of $0, claiming that the agency had enough in reserve to fund its operations. This is a stark contrast to the Obama-era agency, which drew upon over $200 million annually for activities like conducting investigations and enforcement, developing new rules and reporting to Congress. Defunding or underfunding agencies is an effective technique for limiting their reach and scope.

Now, Mulvaney has fired the consumer advisory counsel, a group of people who normally work with the agency to identify emerging financial concerns for American consumers. This board doesn’t just talk about how issues like predatory lending and debt collection affect consumers. Its discussions can also serve as red flags about larger issues in the financial industry; consumers can be the canary in the coal mine for changes in the financial landscape that could have serious ramifications, as seen in 2008.

The agency insists that replacing these advocacy appointees will “streamline” processes and save money, but outgoing appointees have their doubts. Given that Mulvaney just handed payday lenders some pretty sweet deals – and at least one of those lenders contributed to his political campaign in the past — it seems he’s interested in listening to certain concerns about CFPB policy, just not those of average consumers.

As if that isn’t enough, Mulvaney is also changing the agency’s name: The CFPB will be known as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection from now on. And the president has just nominated one of his cronies, Kathy Kraninger, to formally take over as director. Her appointment will be subject to Senate approval, and although she has no experience in consumer advocacy or financial services, the White House anticipates an easy confirmation.

Changes like these on the federal level can be frustrating to watch; federal agencies are supposed to serve the public, not special interests — and while their leaders are often political appointees, they should be able to focus on the concerns of the nation, not their parties. Trump appears to be targeting some agencies for destruction by replacing their leadership with people actively interested in seeing those agencies fail, despite the best efforts of the career civil servants who work there.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

77 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

TYFS

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Julie D
Julie D7 months ago

Trump and the GOP want no regulations of any kind on anything, no investigation, no oversight, no accountability. Just a free for all so that he, his family, his donors and his cronies can make obscene amounts of money by any means they choose with no repercussions of any kind. That is his dream, along side making himself a life time dictator.

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Brian F
Brian F8 months ago

Defending corrupt Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, who is worth 100 million dollars, and refuses to support progressive policies that most people support, like Medicare for all, free colleges, a $15.00 minimum wage, and marijuana legalization shows a lack of integrity. It's clear why the Democrats lost the last election, and will continue to lose elections.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E8 months ago

@ Sussane R
I did see the episode of "United Shades of America". It aired on CNN which I subscribe to .
Canada is far from perfect and I fear that some of trump and his swamp dwellers "policies" ae seeping into our culture.
I am never afraid of going out with my pup . I think Caucasians can be just as "ignorant" as ANY of our multicultural friends and neighbours. I am also worried about our trade relations as trump seem to think he is "KING" of North America.
My father was American a m brother is American and lives in Oregon.
(sorry about the typos including your name. Sometimes C2 acts up and won't even let me go back in a post to correct) :-(

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Brian F
Brian F8 months ago

My favorite goals? More like the goals of most Americans. But then we all know that most Democrats refuse to support Medicare for all, free colleges, a $15.00 minimum wage, and marijuana legalization, because like Diane Feinstein, their crooks like the Republicans.

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Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

Thank you, Rhoberta. Did you notice that "he" keeps insisting that I have to "criticize most Democrats" for not supporting his four major goals for America? I think he's done it in every post. I wonder why he's under the impression that he can tell me --or anyone who chooses to post a comment-- how to think and what to say? A control freak, maybe? An odd manifestation of OCD? Did you also notice that he cut off our relationship --after I already had? He had to have to have the last word --even though it was the same as mine. Very odd...

I don't know why you've gone above and beyond to defend me, but I appreciate it and would do the same for you. BTW, I watched a program on CNN called "United Shades of America" hosted W. Kamau Bell. This particular episode was called "The difference between the US and Canada." Mr. Bell interviewed a multitude of Canadian citizens from various parts of Canada, and they were all very friendly and very well-informed. It validated everything you tell us about your country. I hope you're able to see it. Here's the URL:
https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/05/21/usoa-canada-ron1.cnn/video/playlists/w-kamau-bell-united-shades/

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E8 months ago

@ Susanne R
"Someone" thinks YOU lack integrity ??? Must be a joke :-) They're taking their marbles and not playing anymore :-( SO sad

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Brian F
Brian F8 months ago

Susanne R First of all, I never followed you around. Trump's tax cuts are bad, but that still doesn't excuse most of the Democrats from not supporting Medicare for all, free colleges, a $15.00 minimum wage, and marijuana legalization. Since you clearly refuse to criticize most Democrats who are corrupt like the Republicans, we're done here. Don't comment to my post anymore since obviously you lack integrity.

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Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

Brian: I don't understand you, and I don't think I ever will. Since when did it become my job to "allow" or "refuse to allow" others from expressing their opinions? What would be the point of being a Care2 member if varying opinions weren't expressed and discussed? Ever since I started posting again after a long absence, you've followed me around and twisted my words, criticized me for not saying what you thought I should, insulted me non-stop and, worse yet, insulted others who spoke in my defense. I've told you several times that I support Medicare for all, free college, the legalization of marijuana, and a $15 minimum wage, but I'm a realist and I'm not sure these things can be accomplished unless trump's tax breaks for corporations and billionaires are rescinded. I also don't believe the GOP will ever agree to those policies. Now what have I missed? How is it that I'm confusing you? Do you want a notarized statement?

Since we can't seem to connect on any level, let's agree on this: let's NEVER address each other again. It just doesn't work. We simply don't understand one another. There are plenty of commenters out there. Go out and find one who can follow your line of reasoning. You should be able to have your opinions and I should be able to have mine ---and so should everyone else.

Goodbye.

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Brian F
Brian F8 months ago

Susanne R You should take your own advice, and if you have issues with Trump, you should take it up with him. You can't have it both ways. You can't only criticize Trump, but not also allow others to criticize the Democrats who are corrupt and refuse to support progressive policies that e desperately need like Medicare for all, free colleges, marijuana legalization, and a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Most of the Democrats are refusing to support Medicare for all, which most people support. If you defend these corrupt Democrats, you are a sellout. Be upfront about it, and own your title.

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