In its first report to Congress under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau largely follows formats and standards laid out during former director Richard Cordray’s tenure.
The report summarized the CFPB’s recent activities through the summer. The bureau under Mulvaney has taken a more collaborative approach with regulated entities than the under previous director Richard Cordray. That led some to question the bureau’s commitment to enforcement under the Trump appointee (Cordray was appointed by Obama). However, the current report covers much the same ground as previous reports of its kind.
The report said the CFPB found violations among servicers of auto loans and home mortgages, sectors that were identified as having issues by the CFPB’s previous leadership as well. The report doesn’t include company names or detail possible enforcement actions, in line with CFPB practice during the previous administration.
The bureau’s examiners noted various deceptive and unfair acts or practices by auto loan servicers, including repossessing vehicles after the repossession was supposed to be canceled, or sloppy billing practices that caused consumers to be late on payments. The report also notes the mis-application of insurance proceeds to future scheduled payments, rather than just any payments in arrears.
In the home mortgage servicing sector, unfair practices were found in loan modifications and foreclosure initiations, the CFPB said. The bureau noted a trend of servicers being slow to convert short term, trial modifications of repayment schedules to permanent modifications as well as incorrect information in foreclosure proceedings and incorrect bill amounts.
In payday lending, examinations uncovered violations such as sending out misleading collection letters. They noted examples of letters threatening to take possession of consumers’ automobiles when they had neither the right nor the power to do so. Also noted were instances of lenders debiting consumers’ accounts without valid authorization based upon account numbers they had on file for other purposes.
The format and content of the latest report were generally similar to those issued under its previous leadership. One notable exception was that this time the CFPB did not tally the number of consumers who benefited from the bureau’s enforcement actions or the total amount the bureau extracted from transgressors in the form of reimbursements or civil penalties.
“The bureau expects that the publication of supervisory highlights [report] will continue to aid bureau-supervised entities in their efforts to comply with federal consumer financial law.” the CFPB said.