CFPB Seeks Input to Overhaul Administrative Enforcement

By Lydia Beyoud

The Trump-led CFPB is evaluating how it brings administrative enforcement actions against the financial industry companies it regulates, such as debt collectors, payday lenders, and mortgage brokers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a notice Jan. 31 seeking public comment on “the benefits and impacts of its use of administrative adjudications, and how its existing process may be improved.”

The announcement came the same day a federal appeals court judge issued a decision in the PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau case, in which the CFPB, under its previous director, Richard Cordray, levied a $109 million administrative fine against a New Jersey mortgage company.

Administrative adjudications are adversarial proceedings brought before an administrative law judge. The CFPB director has ultimate decision in whether to act on the judge’s recommendation.

The request for information is the second in a series the CFPB has issued under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in November. The first was a Jan. 26 RFI on the agency’s civil investigative demands.

The next RFI in the series will address other aspects of the agency’s enforcement processes, and will be issued next week, the CFPB said.

The agency’s enforcement actions have been roundly criticized by congressional Republicans, including Mulvaney when he served as a South Carolina congressman before joining the Trump administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mulvaney said in a Jan. 24 staff memo that he planned to take the CFPB’s enforcement priorities in a new direction, with a pivot to focusing on debt collectors and less on other sectors. Future enforcement cases would be based on protecting consumers, as well as financial institutions, Mulvaney said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at lbeyoud@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com

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