At bankers’ conference, Mick Mulvaney signaled that the CFPB would prevent public access to the Consumer Complaint Database – a critical tool for spotting patterns of financial abuse.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, amidst his revealingly nonchalant remarks about engaging in pay-to-play politics as a Congressman, Mick Mulvaney, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) illegitimate Acting Director, told 1,300 bankers and other financial industry officials gathered at a conference that nothing in the law requires for him to maintain public access to the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database. This claim combined with his repeated stance that the CFPB would do what the law required but “go no further,” indicate he plans on shielding this resource from public view. The CFPB has received more than one million public complaints online since it started accepting them in 2011. Consumers turn to the consumer bureau for help with financial issues ranging from abusive debt collection to deceptive mortgage practices, from fraudulent payday lenders to dishonest student loan servicers.

Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) Executive Vice President Debbie Goldstein issued the following statement:

A publicly available Consumer Complaint Database is an indispensable resource for helping journalists, academic researchers, consumer watchdog groups, the CFPB itself, businesses, and consumers spot patterns of financial misconduct.

Mick Mulvaney has just told bankers he can hide their misconduct from the public by making the complaint database private. If he does so, he will be making it easier for predatory lenders to fleece consumers. That would violate the mission that Congress gave the consumer bureau: to protect consumers and make markets more transparent.

As Mulvaney flaunts his ability to get away with bureaucratic malpractice, he has shoved aside any pretense of feeling a moral obligation to the public. He has unabashedly consolidated his power, simultaneously serving as the White House’s budget writer and the putative top consumer watchdog – dismissing the inherent conflicts of interest. The Administration should immediately nominate a permanent director actually willing to faithfully serve the public.

In a U.S. Senate hearing earlier this month, Mulvaney told Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) that he might hide the database because, he claimed, the law doesn’t force him to have it publicly available. Watch the short video.

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