Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting director Mick Mulvaney told a large crowd of bankers gathered in Washington that he doesnât have to run a âYelp for financial services, sponsored by the federal government.â
Mulvaneyâs remark, delivered to the American Bankers Association, got lots of chuckles and then huge applause when he added that, in particular, he doesnât see anything in the Dodd-Frank law that created the CFPB that requires âthe Bureau,â as he prefers to call the agency, to make a database of complaints against the banks available to the public.
Advocates consider the database an invaluable resource in determining the difficulties consumers face when dealing with banks and other financial service providers. Industry critics say the database is a tabulation of unverified and possibly untrue complaints.
That was just one of several crowd-pleasing remarks by Mulvaney, who does double duty as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a cabinet-level position.
Mulvaney led off his keynote with one sure-fire way to put a smile on the face of bankers: make a disparaging crack about Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He spent a few minutes explaining that the law says the agencyâs name is Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, not CFPB as the then-sponsor of the agency and now senator renamed it.
Mulvaney is also miffed he can close current open enforcement matters without explaining why. âWeâre not doing regulation by enforcement anymore. Itâs just not fair,â said Mulvaney, to another round of loud applause.
He says he is in favor of having his own inspector general appointed. Right now the CFPB shares the Federal Reserveâs IG, Mark Bialek, who was appointed by President Obama in July 2011.Â
One thing Mulvaney did not mention and ruin the good mood was his first ever enforcement action, a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo & Co
Â on April 20.
Read: Mulvaneyâs first fine at CFPB is second-largest in history of agency
Read also: Hereâs what Wells Fargo did to trigger a $1 billion fine
Reuters reported that the CFPB could have settled for $10 billion instead of $100 million in 2016 for the bankâs earlier unauthorized customer accounts fraud. According to documents sent to Republican staff on the House Financial Services Committee, staff told former director Richard Cordray that the smaller amount was enough to act as an effective deterrent and close the matter quickly.
See also: Regulator settled with Wells Fargo for 100 times less than law allowed: report
âCould we have recovered more? Possibly,â Mulvaney said to Fox Business Network after the latest fine was announced. âThatâs the nature of a settlement. So no, I donât think the folks at Wells think a billion dollars is a small amount of money. I donât think anybody should think a billion dollars is a small amount of money, so this is a historically large collection and weâre very satisfied with the outcome.â
MarketWatch asked Mulvaney after his speech on Tuesday how the agency came up with this $1 billion fine. âWeâre not going to comment on the Wells Fargo fine.â
When asked if there was a formula or a template used to avoid the controversy the agency had with the earlier, he didnât elaborate,
âYou keep asking me the same question, youâre going to get the same answer. No comment,â said Mulvaney, who then walked away.