Enforcement activity at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has dropped to levels that are “nonexistent,” largely due to an 80% decrease in the number of public enforcement cases and a 96% drop in the average monetary relief amount per case, according to research conducted by the Consumer Federation of America.
The report looks at every public enforcement action that the CFPB has undertaken during its existence and concludes that law enforcement addressing illegal debt collection and illegal credit reporting has “declined sharply” during the two-plus years that President Trump has been in office.
Specifically looking at debt collection, there has been one enforcement action taken since Richard Cordray resigned as director of the CFPB in November 2017, compared with 20 that were announced during the years that Cordray was in charge of the bureau. The one enforcement action taken against a debt collector included no consumer relief, while the 20 cases announced during Cordray’s tenure included $783 million in funds returned to consumers.
The CFPB announced 11 enforcement actions last year, down from a high of 55 in 2015. The number of enforcement actions has not been this low since 2012, when the CFPB announced eight enforcements.
During Cordray’s tenure, critics of the CFPB’s unwritten policy of regulation by enforcement said the bureau was being too aggressive and forcing companies to read through consent orders and enforcement actions to determine whether they needed to change their policies and procedures to avoid being accused of doing whatever was in that particular action. Last year, Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the CFPB, announced that it would no longer “push the envelope” in enforcing consumer protection laws.
“Under Trump administration appointees, the number of CFPB enforcement cases has dropped precipitously, and, in the relatively few cases resolved, the amount of restitution returned to victims of unlawful activity has been substantially reduced or even eliminated entirely,” the report says.