While Americans are “drowning in debt,” the White House is waging a war on regulation that is ultimately going to push even more consumers into greater debt and higher rates of poverty. Although these plans are touted as part of a pro-business agenda intended to spur economic growth, our Miami debt defense attorneys recognize many of these measures are going to have a harsh impact on consumers – especially those already in the lower tax brackets.
One of the most recent and perhaps most destructive of these efforts is the recent stripping down of the consumer protections and watchdog oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may recall this is the agency created seven years ago that has since been dedicated (successfully so) to preventing consumer rip-offs by loan and credit card issuers, debt collectors, payday lenders and other large financial players. Prior to this administration’s assuming control of the CFPB, the agency had collected nearly $12 billion in compensation for 29 million consumer victims of financial scammers.
Since Mick Mulvaney (also budget director for the Trump administration) stepped in as interim director of the agency in November, he has been dismantling key elements of the program piece-by-piece. He has done significant damage just in the last several months, and planned actions are likely to further threaten consumer financial well-being.
Mulvaney has stated that his predecessor at the CFPB, Rich Cordray, put a strain on the economy and small businesses by “pushing the envelope” in the bureau’s mission. Cordray responded that “pushing the envelope” was never a stated goal of the agency, but that he was proud to have pushed hard to to make sure people were treated fairly by big banks, debt collectors and payday lenders.
If “pushing the envelope” includes things like levying a $100 million fine against Wells Fargo two years ago after the bank opened millions of unauthorized accounts, it seems unlikely we can expect similar action from Mulvaney. These kinds of actions hold companies accountable for fraud on behalf of consumers. But Trump has voiced praise for a bill approved by the House that would remove the CFPB’s authority to pursue banks for engaging in the same kind of consumer fraud. Mulvaney also has personally co-sponsored legislation that was aimed of shutting down the CFPB entirely. If the CFPB is out of the game on this front, there is no other agency to step in and fill the vacuum.
Mulvaney seems also to have a skewed perception of who the agency exists to protect. Although he agrees one of the agency’s roles is to protect consumers from credit card issuers, he also says that it exists to help credit card issues. This makes little sense given that the very name of the bureau underscores the intended purpose of it, which is consumer protection. The whole reason Congress agreed to the agency’s creation in the first place was because existing regulatory agencies were ineffective at preventing predatory lenders from swindling consumers prior to the Great Recession – and we all know how that ended.
The interim director recently told staffers regulatory action by the agency should be based on the volume of consumer complaints. By this measure, the agency never would have pursued Wells Fargo, as not many people complained about it. They may have individually lost only small sums, and didn’t deem it worthy of taking action. Yet, collectively, this amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars lining bank pockets via fraudulent practices.
Mulvaney has initiated zero enforcement actions since taking over, and instead dropped a case – one that involved a group of payday lenders who charged as much as 950 percent interest a year.
Our Miami debt defense attorneys see these steps as clearly more protective of those who engage in predatory practices, rather than the consumers violated by them.
If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Consumers are biggest losers of Trump’s ongoing war on regulations, Feb. 8, 2018, By Jeff Sovern, TheConversationist.com
More Blog Entries:
OCC: Wells Fargo a “Repeat Offender” Against Consumer Rights, Dec. 9, 2017, Miami Debt Defense Attorney Blog