Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

CFPB chief: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 'does not exist'

CFPB chief: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 'does not exist'

The 2016 fine CFPB previously levied upon Wells Fargo had been the agency's largest ever; however, Mulvaney's billion-dollar penalty could easily surpass that record.

Those comments echoed an opinion piece Mulvaney wrote for the Wall Street Journal back in January, in which he also promised not to "go looking of excuses to bring lawsuits". "We are supporting the law, we are just doing it differently".

Mulvaney has so far taken that step in at least three cases, including the agency's effort to force Future Income Payments to respond to a subpoena and its high-profile enforcement action against Ocwen Financial Corp., a leading servicer of mortgage loans.

The CFPB has about 100 ongoing investigations and is actively litigating 25 cases started under Cordray, Mulvaney stated.

In prepared testimony for the House Financial Services Committee, Mulvaney repeats the long-standing criticism that the CFPB, created following the financial crisis, is too independent and powerful.

Mulvaney has proposed changing those provisions, which he said Wednesday would resolve congressional frustration.

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The Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and more than 20 other financial trade groups have sent a joint letter to Congress urging lawmakers to enact legislation to change the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB's budget is overseen by the Fed, a move meant to give the bureau independence from the political whims of lawmakers and the president, given that the CFPB's director can only be removed by the president for cause.

Mulvaney told lawmakers that he's interested in gathering more data about potential changes to data required from companies under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), as well as the CFPB's controversial consumer complaint database. The president's appointment of Mulvaney as the bureau's acting director is still being contested in court.

"I have not burnt the place down", he continued.

Replying to another question, he said, "It is fair to say that I was hostile to the existence of the bureau". This is the first of the two hearings where Mulvaney will testify, with the second hearing to be held before the Senate on Thursday.

A former congressman himself, Mulvaney, who also serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, was asked questions ranging from the extent that the bureau protected consumers' rights to a competitive and transparent market, to rumors about running for Speaker of the House next year.

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