Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney listens to a question during a press briefing at the White House, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Trump’s CFPB reportedly goes easy on another payday lender

Donald Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led by Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, announced in January that it would effectively ignore Obama-era safeguards protecting consumers from predatory payday lenders.

Slate  reported soon after, “Last week, the CFPB dropped a lawsuit in Kansas against four payday lenders without any explanation, other than a weak assurance that it would continue investigating the case. Meanwhile, International Business Times reports today that Mulvaney stealthily closed an investigation into a South Carolina-based payday lender, World Acceptance Corporation, which had previously donated to his campaigns.”

In February, after the CFPB spent years building a case against one controversial payday lender, Mulvaney dropped the case. Reuters reports today that the pattern continues.

The top cop for U.S. consumer finance has decided not to sue a payday loan collector and is weighing whether to drop cases against three payday lenders, said five people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move shows how Mick Mulvaney, named interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by U.S. President Donald Trump, is putting his mark on an agency conceived to stamp out abusive lending.

I’m starting to think Mulvaney doesn’t much care about alleged abuses among payday lenders.

Indeed, I don’t think I’m alone. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Janet Matricciani, the former CEO of a payday lender, reached out to Mulvaney personally, asking him to consider her to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

To help bolster her credentials, Matricciani explained that the CFPB actually investigated her former employer’s lending practices. “I have indepth (sic) experience of what a CFPB investigation is like, and so I am in an unparalleled position to understand the effect of various CFPB actions on a company, its workforce, its customers and the industry,” she wrote.

In the Obama era, this would’ve been pointless. Now that the CFPB has become more payday-lender friendly, Matricciani probably assumed it was worth a shot?

Postscript: Leading members of the payday lending industry will host their annual retreat in South Florida next month. Care to guess where the event will be held? If you said the Trump National Doral Golf Club, give yourself a hand.

CFPB and Financial Industry

Trump's CFPB reportedly goes easy on another payday lender