Mulvaney wants CFPB inspector general, legislative approval of major rules

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney offered four suggestions to change the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to “protect [citizens] from government overreach” in his first semi-annual report to Congress.

Interim CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney offered four suggestions to change the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to “protect [citizens] from government overreach” in his semi-annual report to Congress.

Those recommendations are: to fund the bureau through Congressional appropriations; to require legislative approval of major rules; to ensure that the director answers to the President in the exercise of executive authority; and to create an independent inspector general for the bureau.

“Shortly after President Trump appointed me as Acting Director, I made it clear that the bureau will continue to execute the law, but will no longer go beyond its statutory mandate,” Mulvaney said. The report, which covers the six-month period from April 1, 2017 to Sep. 30, 2017, thus “precisely meets” the nine-item minimum required by Congress for the report. It tops out at 56 pages, compared to 179 in the previous edition issued under former CFPB director Richard Cordray (the main body of the spring 2017 report was over twice as long as the fall 2017 report, and it included multiple appendices).

Frustrations felt by members of Congress for the actions of both Cordray and Mulvaney “should be a warning sign that a lapse in democratic structure and republican principles has occurred,” Mulvaney wrote in the report’s introduction.

“The bureau is far too powerful, with precious little oversight of its activities,” Mulvaney said. “The power wielded by the director of the bureau could all too easily be used to harm consumers, destroy businesses, or arbitrarily remake American financial markets. I’m requesting that Congress make four changes to the law to establish meaningful accountability for the bureau. I look forward to discussing these changes with Congressional members.”

The report also summarized CFPB activity during the six-month period. During this period, the bureau issued guidance on topics such as maintaining compliance management systems, combatting elder abuse, responding to natural disasters, and ensuring accuracy in credit reporting. Enforcement work included actions taken against illegal practices in mortgage servicing, student loan servicing, credit reporting and debt collection.

According to the report, the bureau handled approximately 317,200 consumer complaints during the period Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017. The most-complained-about products or services were debt collection at 27 percent of complaints, credit reporting at 27 percent, and mortgages at 13 percent. Approximately 80 percent of all consumer complaints were submitted through the bureau’s website. Companies have responded to approximately 93 percent of complaints sent to them for response during that period.