Last week an opinion piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal written by the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney. The piece, entitled The CFPB has Pushed its Last Envelope, was based on a memorandum to staff that Mr. Mulvaney had written, and indicates a change of philosophy for the bureau. The thrust of the piece is clear from this quotation:
“It’s fair to say that the bureau’s previous governing philosophy was to “push the envelope” aggressively, under the assumption that we were the good guys and the financial-service industry was the bad guys.
That is going to be different. That entire governing philosophy of pushing the envelope frightens me a little. We are government employees, and we work for the people. That means everyone: those who use credit cards and those who provide the credit; those who take out loans and those who make them; those who buy cars and those who sell them. All of those people are part of what makes this country great, and all of them deserve to be treated fairly by their government.”
NILA has worked extensively with the CFPB in recent years, and we have been in a position to hear widespread criticism of the bureau, focused on what some saw as its “activist” nature. It was clear to us that many considered that “pushing the envelope” risked upsetting the critical balance between effective consumer protection and widespread access to safe and affordable consumer credit.
For this reason, we see Acting Director Mulvaney’s piece as encouraging, as we continue to work with the CFPB on behalf of our companies, our customers, and in the public interest, in the years to come.