Don’t abandon the country’s most vulnerable consumers, Herrera tells Mulvaney
SAN FRANCISCO (May 14, 2018) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sent a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, advising Mulvaney that his rollback of consumer protection enforcement since taking over the bureau undermines the will of Congress.
“To retreat from the vigorous enforcement that has been the hallmark of this agency would be to undermine the will of Congress, ignore the abuses that fueled the bureau’s creation, and would serve to abandon the country’s most vulnerable consumers,” Herrera wrote.
The letter is in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s request for comments and information on its enforcement processes. Prior to President Donald Trump appointing Mulvaney, the consumer watchdog’s enforcement actions secured roughly $11.5 billion in relief for millions of consumers. But in the nearly six months since Mulvaney assumed office in November 2017, the bureau remarkably has failed to bring any new enforcement actions. Herrera also wrote:
“I am deeply concerned that you have not initiated a single enforcement action or new investigation since you assumed the role of acting director. If this reduction in enforcement signals a shift in the bureau’s priorities, it ignores the serious and recent history that propelled the bureau’s creation. It was just ten years ago that our country was rocked by a seismic financial crisis. By 2008, millions of everyday Americans had fallen through a federal consumer financial regulatory structure rife with cracks. They lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their chances to secure a brighter future for their children.”
In the letter, Herrera noted that:
- State and local regulators do not have the jurisdiction, authority, or resources to supplant Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement.
- As bureau successes to date have demonstrated, consumer financial protection is best achieved through complementary and coordinated enforcement by multiple agencies.
- Because the bureau is a coordinating agency by Congress’ design, its dereliction of this statutory duty will leave other regulators disjointed.
- As the bureau serves as a clearinghouse that forwards complaints to other agencies, the efficacy of those agencies likewise stands to suffer.
- The bureau should increase the number of regional offices.
About the City Attorney’s Office
Consumer protection is a key aspect of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. The office has recovered millions for Californians in successful battles against unlawful business practices that include price-fixing, illegal marketing, credit card collections arbitration scams, payday lending, and more.
Read the full text of Herrera’s letter here.