Senators demand more thorough CFPB probe into Equifax breach

by Ryan Smith04 May 2018

Senate Democrats are demanding that a robust probe be conducted into the Equifax data breach and asking why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has pulled back its investigation into the matter.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) released a report this week reviewing consumer complaints to the CFPB in the wake of the breach. The report said that the CFPB has received more than 20,000 consumer complaints about the breach. The number of complaints against Equifax nearly doubled in the wake of the breach.

The senators pressed Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney to hold Equifax accountable for the breach, in which the personal information of up to 145 million customers was stolen. Under Mulvaney, the CFPB has pulled back on its probe of the credit rating agency.

“Despite the severe threat to consumers and the CFPB’s responsibility to protect them, the investigation into Equifax has reportedly “sputtered” since Mr. Mulvaney took over the CFPB,” Warren’s office said in a release. “While the CFPB has confirmed that an inquiry is still open, reports indicate that the agency, under Mr. Mulvaney’s watch, has not sought subpoenas or testimony from Equifax executives.”

The senators also took the CFPB to task for reportedly rebuffing other regulators’ offers to help with the investigation.

The senators also took Mulvaney to task for reports that he planned to make parts of the CFPB complaints database unavailable to the public.

“Without this information, researchers and advocates would lose the ability to track in real time the difficulties consumers are facing,” the senators wrote. “Companies would have a harder time conducting due diligence on potential partners to make sure they don’t cheat their customers. Other federal and state regulators may lose access to this important information, making it more difficult for them to identify systemic fraud. Most importantly, removing this information would take away crucial information consumers need in order to make informed decisions about who to trust – information that is even more important in an era when the consumer watchdog is controlled by Mr. Mulvaney.”

 

Related stories: