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Leaked Email Reveals A New Pro-Business CFPB

Leaked Email Reveals Pro-Business CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is going through major changes under the new leadership of Mick Mulvaney. In a leaked internal email sent by President Trump’s acting director to staff, he issued his mission statement and set a clear new course for the CFPB.

His message began with a statement that everyone at the CFPB is a government employee who works not just for the government, but for the people. From the examples given in the email, he clearly defines “people” as both business sellers and consumer purchasers. The message Mr. Mulvaney is giving is that he wants the bureau to be fair to all parties.

This is a welcome change for businesses and many political leaders.  In the past, the bureau has been criticized for regulating by enforcement. It’s a practice which has made if difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to grasp the CFPB’s expectations from enforcement actions against others as a means for how best to protect their own businesses from similar actions. 

New CFPB Mission Statement:

From Mr. Mulvaney’s email, here is the mission statement in his own words.

“We will exercise, with humility and prudence, the almost unparalleled power given to us to faithfully enforce the law in furtherance of the mandate given to us by Congress. But we go no further. Simply put, the days of aggressively ‘pushing the envelope’ of the law in the name of the ‘mission’ are over.” 

How The CFPB Will Operate:

Below is a summary of directives from Mr. Mulvaney’s email that provides additional clarification on the new direction of the CFPB.

  • There will be an internal review of how the CFPB conducts operations from investigations to lawsuits.
  • On enforcement, the CFPB will focus on quantifiable and unavoidable harm to the consumer and only vigorously pursue the appropriate remedies and not look for excuses for bring lawsuits.
  • On regulations, the people regulated have the right to know what the rules are before being charged with breaking them.
  • Quantitative analysis will play a role in decision-making to determine the costs and benefits to consumers.
  • The CFPB will “no longer go beyond the mandate” of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Mr. Mulvaney’s remarks are a reflection of long-standing views of the current administration that the CFPB’s approach to enforcement needs to change. Under this new approach, financial institutions have an opportunity to fix consumer-related problems without fear of investigation and penalties in instances where no actual harm has been inflicted on consumers.

The leaked email signals a course change and major upcoming change in the size and structure of the bureau’s operations as does their recently announced Request for Information (RFI). 

Comments Sought on Civil Investigative Demands

On January 24, the CFPB published the Request for Information (RFI) about the Bureau’s Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) that was announced as part of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s call for evidence. This RFI provides an opportunity for the public to submit feedback and suggest ways to improve outcomes for both consumers and covered entities. The CFPB began accepting comments on January 26. Follow the link for more information about the RFI on Civil Investigative Demands.