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Waters: Mulvaney’s Presence at the Consumer Bureau Compromises Independence of the Agency

Washington, DC, April 11, 2018
Tags: CFPB

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a full committee hearing entitled “The 2018 Semi-Annual Report of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.”

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, let me say at the outset that Mr. Mulvaney is not the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He was illegally appointed by President Trump in a move that blatantly contradicts the Dodd-Frank statute, which is very clear that the Deputy Director of the agency shall serve as Acting Director in the case of absence or unavailability of the Director.

I want to be very clear that Democrats’ participation in this hearing is not in any way an acknowledgment of Mr. Mulvaney’s legitimacy at the Consumer Bureau. Nonetheless, given the many impactful and indeed harmful decisions Mr. Mulvaney is making with regard to the Consumer Bureau, it is necessary for us to engage with him in an oversight capacity here today while the courts decide who should actually be in charge.

I am very concerned about Mr. Mulvaney’s actions and have serious questions that he must address in his testimony.

Mr. Mulvaney’s very presence at the Consumer Bureau compromises the critical independence of the agency, which was specifically designed by Congress to be an independent watchdog for America’s consumers. As Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Mulvaney serves at the pleasure of and reports to the President, which means that this President holds an inappropriate level of influence over the operations and activities of the Consumer Bureau and our system of banking regulation.

And it is very clear that Mr. Mulvaney is indeed carrying out this President’s agenda at the Consumer Bureau. He has taken a series of actions that weaken the agency’s ability to carry out its important mission and benefit the predatory actors that the agency is designed to police.

For example, he has stripped the Consumer Bureau’s Office of Fair Lending of its enforcement and supervisory powers, which has the effect of undermining the Consumer Bureau’s ability to enforce fair lending laws.

Mr. Mulvaney has also demonstrated a pattern of working to help out payday lenders. He has stopped the implementation of the Consumer Bureau’s sensible payday rule. He withdrew a lawsuit that the Consumer Bureau had initiated against a group of payday lenders who had allegedly deceived consumers about the cost of loans, which had interest rates as high as 950 percent a year. And he has also ceased an investigation into a high-cost installment lender called World Acceptance Corporation, which reportedly was engaging in abusive practices. His actions have signaled that the Consumer Bureau is a safe haven for payday lenders, so much so that the former CEO of World Acceptance Corporation actually sent him her resume, asking if she could be the next Director of the Consumer Bureau.

Enforcement actions have also ground to a halt, with zero actions between the time when Mulvaney first walked through the doors of the Consumer Bureau and today.

Mr. Chairman, Democrats will not allow the Consumer Bureau’s statutorily mandated mission to be undermined. It is a critically important agency that must be allowed to continue its work protecting American consumers from unfair, deceptive or abusive practices.

Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.


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