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Joint Statement: Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rev. Willie Gable Jr. Condemn Ongoing Sabotage of CFPB, Demand Pres. Trump Nominate Consumer Advocate as Director

Submitted by on February 7, 2018 – 5:14 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 7, 2018

CONTACT: Tyler Cherry, tcherry@skdknick.com

 

Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rev. Willie Gable Jr. Condemn Ongoing Sabotage of CFPB, Demand Pres. Trump Nominate Consumer Advocate as Director

 

Today, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rev. Willie Gable Jr. of Louisiana joined Yana Miles from the Center for Responsible Lending and José Alcoff from Americans for Financial Reform to highlight how Mick Mulvaney has sought to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the impact Mulvaney’s sabotage is having on local communities and American families. Audio of the call can be found here.

Since Mulvaney was unlawfully installed as the CFPB’s Acting Director, he has shifted the bureau’s priority away from protecting consumers against Wall Street’s reckless behavior and instead has moved to shield predatory payday lenders and other financial bad actors, some of which have showered him in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Mulvaney’s actions will harm Americans around the country, particularly the poorest victims of Wall Street and predatory lenders.

“Under the Trump administration, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has become the Payday Predator Protection Bureau,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). “Trump and his allies are blatantly trying to dismantle the bureau from the inside. If this isn’t a crystal clear example of the Trump administration governing of, by, and for the powerful rather than of, by, and for the people, then I don’t know what is.”

Mulvaney’s actions — including stopping actions against predatory lenders, reconsidering the bureau’s payday lending rule, installing political cronies in high-level positions, stripping the Fair Lending Office of its enforcement powers, and reportedly halting actions to hold Equifax and Wells Fargo accountable for harming consumers — threaten the bureau’s mission of protecting consumers and its successful efforts to recompense local communities and families defrauded by financial predators. Under the previous director, the CFPB won about $12 billion dollars in relief for more than 29 million Americans.

“Mick Mulvaney’s disdain for consumer protection is disheartening, and his allegiance to the payday lenders makes him a threat to working families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Rev. Willie Gable Jr., Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in New Orleans. “In my home state of Louisiana, the average payday loan interest rate is 391 percent. With rates this high – and even higher in other states, cash-strapped people who needed only a couple hundred dollars soon discover they are in financial quicksand, paying loan fees were after week, that only sink them deeper into debt. The CFPB has historically has been an instrument of good—holding Wall Street accountable to the public. But with Mulvaney at the helm, the only thing we can see going forward is his effort to dismantle this important agency.”

 “It’s been 75 days since Mulvaney was unlawfully appointed, and since then he’s halted investigations and penalties against financial predators, stripped the Fair Lending Office of its enforcement and supervisory powers, and moved to slow or reverse consumer protection rules, including the payday lending rule—which took five years to produce,” said Yana Miles, Senior Legislative Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. “This is just a short list of the harms he’s done in under three months. His continued effort to undermine the integrity of the consumer bureau will have lasting and damaging effects on working families across the country.”

 Despite Mulvaney’s attempts to undermine the bureau, the CFPB remains popular precisely because the agency has a successful record of fighting for consumers and working to right the wrongs that precipitated the Great Recession. A recent poll found that 74 percent of voters back the agency’s work. President Trump must nominate a director who can garner bipartisan support and who will fight every day for consumers and families who are being crushed by predatory financial behavior.

 “Mick Mulvaney is hacking away at the consumer bureau, especially regarding its work to stop predatory payday lending — to stop the infamous ‘debt trap,’” said José Alcoff, Campaign Manager, Americans for Financial Reform. “A majority of Americans — including our coalition of congregations, civil rights groups, unions, consumer advocates, and others — would like to see consumer bureau’s work continue. Mulvaney needs to let the consumer bureau do the job it’s been doing. Trump needs to nominate a director with a track record of protecting consumers, one who can earn bipartisan support in the Senate.”

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