USA consumer watchdog seeks record fine against Wells Fargo for abuses

Wells Fargo reportedly facing huge fine for mortgage lending and auto insurance problems

Mulvaney has since taken several steps to ease the CFPB's aggressive policing of the financial sector.

Representative Carolyn Maloney of NY said: "We have essentially taken the cop off the beat".

In the almost six months since White House budget director Mick Mulvaney took over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency has abandoned more enforcement cases than it has brought in federal court. The president's appointment of Mulvaney as the bureau's acting director is still being contested in court.

When Mulvaney testified in front of the House Committee on Financial Services on Wednesday, Waters asked him why people should trust him to run the CFPB when he was previously sponsored legislation to get rid of that bureau.

The bank has already paid a huge fine to settle 2016 charges that it enrolled millions of customers in checking and credit card accounts without their knowledge or permission.

In the roughly seven years it has been in existence, the bureau has returned $3.97 billion in cash back to American consumers through enforcement actions and an additional $7.93 billion in other types of relief, such as lower loan balances or debt relief, based on the CFPB's records.

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With the D.C. Circuit arguments 24 hours away, House Democrats on Wednesday made clear that their questioning of Mulvaney should not be taken as a concession that he is the CFPB's lawfully appointed leader. As a member of Congress, he voted to abolish it, calling it a "sick, sad, joke".

"I could stop all 100 investigations that are going on right now and we've chosen not to do that because we are still enforcing the law", Mulvaney said. Since taking the helm he has sought zero funding for its second quarter, launched a review of all agency policies and inserted into the CFPB's mission statement the goal to cut regulations. There were some periods under the Obama administration where bureau enforcement actions slowed, but those appear largely tied to the fact the agency was just getting underway. Since the news hit headlines, Wells has discontinued the incentives that drove the illegal action and has paid $185 million to various authorities, including the CFPB.

On Monday, news broke that the top USA watchdog for consumer finance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is going after the bank with a record fine of at least several hundred millions of dollars. "If a company violates the law, it needs to be held accountable and called out instead of being quietly admonished through supervision".

Mulvaney told lawmakers that he's interested in gathering more data about potential changes to data required from companies under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), as well as the CFPB's controversial consumer complaint database.

"Enforcement is one of the most important parts of CFPB, because of the signals it is able to send to markets", Saunders said.

Mulvaney will field questions about the bureau's semiannual report, submitted to Congress last week, as well as actions he's taken since being appointed by President Trump in November.

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