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Mulvaney Lays Out New Mission For CFPB; Could Debt Collection Rule Be On Deck?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will no longer “push the envelope” in enforcing consumer protection laws, acting director Mick Mulvaney announced in a memo that was circulated to agency employees today. Instead, the agency will only “reluctantly” bring the full weight of the federal government to bear, and “and only when all other attempts at resolution have failed. It should be the most final of last resorts.”

Companies which fall under the purview of the CFPB can also expect less regulation by enforcement and more formal ruelmaking, Mulvaney said in his memo. A copy of the memo can be accessed here.

And, based on the number of complaints that have been filed with the CFPB by consumers, it appears as though debt collection may be moving to the top the regulatory priority list.

“And we will be prioritizing,” Mulvaney wrote. “In 2016, almost a third of the complaints into this office related to debt collection. Only 0.9% related to prepaid cards and 2% to payday lending. Data like that should, and will, guide our actions.”

Mulvaney laid out a new mission for the CFPB in closing his memo:

we will exercise, with humility and prudence, the almost unparalleled power given to us to faithfully enforce the law in furtherance of the mandate given to us by Congress. But we go no further. Simply put, the days of aggressively “pushing the envelope” of the law in the name of the “mission” are over.

Mulvaney said he is more seriously taking the impact that the CFPB can have on individuals and companies into consideration when deciding whether to take action.

The damage that we can do to people could linger for years and cost them their jobs, their savings, and their homes. If the CFPB loses a court case because we “pushed too hard,” we simply move on to the next matter. But where do those that we have charged go to get their time, their money, or their good names back? If a company closes its doors under the weight of a multi-year Civil Investigative Demand, you and I will still have jobs at CFPB. But what about the workers who are laid off as a result? Where do they go the next morning?

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