Joseph Otting, the Comptroller of the Currency and a fellow regulator, took the unusual step of praising Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, following a meeting the two had yesterday.
Perhaps the statement was meant to dull criticism being lobbed at Mulvaney by Democrats and consumer advocates who feel that the moves announced during his short tenure as acting director have blunted the consumer protection initiatives at the agency.
“I have been impressed with Mick’s leadership and emphasis on operational efficiency and excellence,” Otting said in a statement. “I share his willingness to reevaluate practices and programs that result in regulatory overreach and unnecessary burden that adversely affect banks’ ability to serve their customers. We have a common belief that our financial system functions best, when it works for everyone—meeting the financial needs of consumers and businesses, creating jobs, and fueling economic growth. Our jobs as regulators is to help our system fulfill its important role in society by ensuring it operates in a safe and sound manner and treats customers fairly. But, unnecessary regulatory burden is a waste that places a drag on our entire economy without making the system safer or fairer.”
Mulvaney recently laid out a new vision for the agency, saying that the CFPB would no longer “push the envelope” and 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.”
Otting became Comptroller of the Currency back in November. The OCC regulates national banks.