Jelly, jelly so fine

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wolves to the henhouse

With Mulvaney detailed to the CFPB working alongside Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is trashing the Department of Education, and Scott Pruitt, who is ravaging the EPA, President Trump has temporarily succeeded in putting the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin in charge of Gotham City.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D- MD)

The Donald's naming a guy to lead the CFBP who is on record opposing its very existence is about right, or should I say, par for the course for this administration.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the only entity that has kept the wolves out of the financial henhouse but I am afraid its days are now numbered.

God forbid that there should be an independent agency that looks out for consumers. And frankly this administration could not care less for the rights of consumers.

Let's look at the agency's record. A $700-million settlement with Citibank. The CFPB found that the big bank had bilked up to 8.8 million customers through "deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products" and through "deceptively charged" payment fees.

"We don't want a lapdog for predatory lenders. We want a watchdog for American families. That's what we're fighting for." Sen. Jeff Merkley

The agency has not only targeted mortgage abuses, the kind that brought the whole economy down in 2008, but also rotten credit card issuers, credit reporting agencies (the source, according to CFPB director Richard Cordray, of 11% of all complaints to his agency) and for-profit colleges.

And they slapped a very deserving Wells Fargo, hard. In the wake of the fake account and involuntary insurance scandals, CFPB ordered the bank to pay a $185 million fine and doled out $5 million in customer refunds.

All in all they have clawed back about $11.9 billion dollars to the American consumer. Republicans complain that they should of got more. Like they really care. They would prefer to rely on sweetheart arbitrators that will keep bank abuse under the rug. Not like you can expect much when your own Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin was a prime miscreant who relied on robo signors to screw mortgagees when he ran his nasty bank.

I think of Wells Fargo and my mind keeps going racing back to the story of poor Larry Delassus. See Blue Heron Blast - Jurist Nonprudence. Crooked bank, arm in arm with a crooked court system. Leaves a guy dead on the courthouse steps.

The CFPB has been vigorous in rooting out shoddy lending. It alleges that Think Finance, a financial technology company, tricked customers into paying debts they did not legally owe. The CFPB filed a lawsuit on November 15 alleging Think Finance made deceptive demands and illegally took money from consumers' bank accounts.

There are lots of companies that have committed acts similar to what  Think has allegedly committed. But Mick Mulvaney is putting a freeze on all the action and will try to put the agency to sleep before it breaks any more eggs and people see what is really going on.

I fully expect Trump to prevail in this dueling directors saga, especially since the Judge overseeing the kerfuffle is a recent appointee. Justice in our world is a commodity dispensed by crooked judges and politicians. Wonder why Judge Laura Ellison started going by another name? But I think the real craw that sticks to the GOP like a burr in the saddle is the complaint database.

The agency maintains a public database of complaints against financial companies. And it is public and accessible. It currently lists over 900.000 grievances. And Trump and the bankers don't want you to see them. They plan on hiding it, if not doing away with it. The CFPB sees it differently.
Banks and other financial institutions have expressed concern that it allows consumers to report complaints anonymously, and that the CFPB doesn't not fully vet the complaints for accuracy.
“We have long objected to the public disclosure of unverified consumer complaints and repeatedly called on the Bureau to make improvements,” says John Mechem, vice president of public affairs for the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Ruth Susswein, deputy director of national priorities for Consumer Action, an advocacy group based Washington, D.C., defended the way the database works.
"A company has every right to come back and say, ‘that's not what happened’," she says. Susswein noted that in many cases, consumers resort to complaining to the CFPB when they've exhausted their efforts working directly with companies. "This may be their last, best hope for resolution,” she says. “It's an effective and unique, first-class complaint system.”
The Trump administration, the bankers and Republicans in general have short memories about such matters. Dodd Frank, Glass Steagall, all the post recession regulations that were implemented so that we don't repeat these past mistakes and bank bail outs, yet they are so quickly forgotten.

Trump says that the CFPB has been hamstringing financial institutions while in reality they have never raked in such record profits, over 157 billion last year alone. Over 11 trillion dollars in assets.

But god forbid the President ever let the truth get in the way.  Pigs must get fatter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, but the hogs must get slaughtered...