House Dems slam CFPB's right turn

by Ryan Smith07 Mar 2019

House Democrats slammed the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday for the agency’s industry-friendly shift under the administration of President Donald Trump.

The House Financial Services Committee – which, under Republican leadership, regularly criticized the CFPB for being too hard on the finance industry – held a contentious hearing Wednesday in which the new Democratic leadership slammed the agency for going too far in the other direction.

Committee chair Rep, Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had sharp words for CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, and accused Kraninger’s predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, of attempting to sabotage the CFPB’s primary mission.

“During his tenure running the Consumer Bureau, Mick Mulvaney – who is currently Trump’s acting chief of staff – took many actions that hurt consumers,” Waters said. “Mulvaney closed the Office of Young Consumers, stripped the Office of Fair Lending of its ability to enforce fair-lending laws, cozied up to payday lenders, gave lenders a free pass to abuse active-duty service members and their families, and fired the Consumer Bureau’s consumer advisory board. His mission was to dismantle the agency from within, and he leaves behind no less than 12 political appointees who are continuing to cause damage.”

Waters, who has introduced legislation to strengthen the CFPB, said that the Financial Services Committee would fight back against what she and other Democrats view as the administration’s abuse of consumers.

“This committee will not tolerate the Trump administration’s anti-consumer actions,” she said.

Other committee Democrats said that Kraninger needed to roll back some of the changes Mulvaney made during his tenure at the bureau.

“I want to help you be a great director here, but in order to do that, you’ve got to help us fix the damage that your predecessor did,” Rep. David Scott (D-Fla.) told Kraninger.

However, Kraninger would not agree to rescind some of Mulvaney’s changes, including his removal of enforcement powers for the Office of Fair Lending, according to a Los Angeles Times report. That office oversees fair-lending regulations that protect consumers from racial and other discrimination.