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CFPB’s Mulvaney Puts Focus on Cost-Benefit Analysis

CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s tenure at the head of the regulatory organization has been defined by a reexamination of the Bureau’s priorities and purpose. That trend continued this week with the issuance of a new memo written by Mulvaney and distributed to CFPB staff. The memo, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, highlights an increased focus on considering the cost-benefit analysis of both regulations and regulatory enforcement imposed by the CFPB.

According to the WSJ, the memo outlines Mulvaney’s plan to create an “office of cost benefit analysis” that will be tasked with evaluating the Bureau’s oversight and enforcement from a financial standpoint. That move will likely find support among critics of the Bureau who believe its regulatory actions can be overly burdensome on the industries the Bureau oversees. It is also consistent with the arc of Mulvaney’s tenure at the CFPB—a long-time critic of the Bureau before his appointment as Acting Director, Mulvaney in February issued a memo vowing to hew to the Bureau's statutory responsibilities but go "no further." In that memo, Mulvaney explained that "pushing the envelope in pursuit of other objectives ignores the will of the American people" and "also risks trampling upon the liberties of our citizens."

The CFPB strategic plan for 2018 - 2022 laid, issued in February, laid out three goals:

  1. Ensure that all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services.
  2. Implement and enforce the law consistently to ensure that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive.
  3. Foster operational excellence through efficient and effective processes, governance, and security of resources and information.

You can read the full CFPB strategic play for 2018-2022 by clicking here.

The WSJ also reports that the new memo formally installs Brian Johnson and Kirsten Sutton as aides who will serve as Mulvaney’s “representatives in each division.” The WSJ reports that, per Mulvaney’s memo, Johnson will serve as the “final stop on all things policy related” for Mulvaney and Sutton will serve as Mulvaney’s “lead on management issues.”

Leadership of the CFPB was thrown into question last fall, following the surprise resignation of Director Richard Cordray. On his way out, Cordray named his Chief of Staff, Leandra English, as Deputy Director of the CFPB. However, President Trump then appointed White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to head the CFPB. This kicked off a series of legal challenges between the two over who was the rightful leader of the organization, with Mulvaney eventually prevailing.

On Tuesday night, ex-CFPB Director Richard Cordray officially clinched the Democratic nomination for the governorship of Ohio. Campaigning on both his history at the CFPB and a promise to focus on economic matters affecting Ohioans, Cordray defeated five other contenders during the Ohio Democratic primary, including former Congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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