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As a general rule deregulation is a good thing for business, and the public. Director of the Office of Business and Management Mick Mulvaney has found the exception to that rule, while working as the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. NPR reports:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis to protect Americans from being ripped off by financial firms.

Now, President Trump’s interim appointee to run the bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is making radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission.

An internal memo obtained by NPR says the CFPB on Monday will unveil a new strategic plan to that end. A “revised mission and vision of the bureau” for the years 2018 through 2022 will call upon the agency to “fulfill its statutory responsibilities but go no further.” It also says the bureau should be “acting with humility and moderation.”

To Mulvaney, that means dropping lawsuits against predatory payday lenders that happened to contribute to his campaign war chest when he was in Congress. In a perfect world, it would be fine to say “buyer beware” or the like, but these lenders that have been targeted for lawsuits by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau engage in deceptive practices. They also target people who can’t afford a lengthy legal battle to recoup losses.
In truth, Mulvaney is essentially legalizing loan shark operations, and apparently believes it is fine for these companies to threaten consumers as a part of their daily business. Also, he has no problem with interest rates far exceeding 100%.

With the exception of the anarchist fringe and perhaps the most radical conservatives, it’s fair to say that most Americans would say that they are morally opposed to companies that had been targeted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, because the public honestly does need protection from that level of deception. Unfortunately, Mulvaney probably will continue to tear down this agency, and the Trump administration obviously is fine with that idea. The public just needs to hope that these deceptive business practices don’t seep into more mainstream financial services, since we definitely cannot expect this administration to prevent the public from being deceived. Not all deregulation is a good thing.

Image: Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

Liz Harrison

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