Michael Mulvaney, Acting Director of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), continues to make his mark on the agency since taking the reins in November 2017.
In several public statements since November including recently, Mulvaney has referred to the agency as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) as referenced in the Dodd Frank Act and which adorns the new seal of the Bureau. Whether the agency will transition to the BCFP is yet to be seen as it’s been identified as the CFPB since inception a few years ago. The website and all other agency sources and material continue to reference the CFPB.
On 6 June 2018, Mulvaney dismissed all 25 members of the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) for the CFPB. Members of the CAB advise the CFPB Director and leadership on policies of the CFPB. The Board had not convened since Mulvaney became head of the CFPB. Under the Dodd Frank Act, the Board must meet a minimum of twice a year.
In the announcement regarding the revamping of the Board, a spokesperson for the CFPB stated that a new Board will be formed this fall and in the meantime the CFPB will conduct more public town hall meeting and listening sessions.
Also last week, the comment period closed for public input on the request for information (RFI) issued by the CFPB on how it handles complaints and its compliant portal. The CFPB complaint database allows consumers to submit complaints on consumer financial services and products. The CFPB provides the company which provided the service or product with the compliant and the company has 15 days to respond. The complaint and response, or just the compliant if no response within the 15 days, is then posted online.
Mulvaney, in an appearance at a conference of the American Bankers Association on 24 April 2018, stated the Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFPB to maintain a compliant database but not to make the complaints public as it does now. According to the CFPB, the agency has handled over 1.5 million complaints since its inception in 2002.
Finally, on 7 June 2018, Mulvaney formally dropped the case of the PHH v. CFPB. Mulvaney as expected let stand without further legal proceedings the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in favor of PHH regarding dismissing of a financial penalty but that the Director of the CFPB could only be removed for cause. The action ends the four-year case which was the first major challenge to the authority and structure of the new agency.
All of these actions could have a direct or indirect impact on transferees involved in a home sale transaction and the companies which provide related financial services and products.