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Trump Appointee Move Invites Lending Discrimination

Monday, February 5, 2018
Deborah Goldstein

CRL Alarmed by Mick Mulvaney Removing Enforcement Powers from Consumer Bureau’s Fair Lending Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) condemned an alarming move by the unlawfully appointed Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, which will have the practical effect of taking away the ability of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity to enforce laws against discrimination. By weakening this office, Mulvaney is making it easier for financial companies to commit and get away with unlawful discriminatory acts, such as redlining and markups against people of color.

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

This action could open up the floodgates on lending discrimination, which would damage the ability for people of color to build wealth.

One of the reasons the CFPB was established was because lending discrimination targeted people of color with predatory, high-cost loans that led to foreclosures.

Under the previous CFPB Director, the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity had won record setting court settlements for consumers who experienced illegal discrimination in the housing, auto loan, and credit card markets. The office helped bring justice, accountability, and protection for consumers in these and other financial markets.

Mulvaney’s move is an invitation for lending discrimination to return in full force. President Trump can end Mick Mulvaney’s ongoing assault on consumers by nominating a permanent CFPB director with a history of standing up to financial predators.

Additional Background

By law, the CFPB is required to have the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity. Earlier this week, Mulvaney announced that the office would be moved from the Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending division to the Director’s Office, to become part of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Fairness. This would take experts on lending discrimination law and put them in an office that is focused primarily on personnel, where they would “focus on advocacy, coordination, and education.” The work of enforcing fair-lending laws would be left to generalists who would also have to handle enforcing numerous other consumer laws.

Separate but related to the Fair Lending Office change, Mulvaney has supported repeal of the CFPB’s auto lending guidance, which aimed to root out pervasive discrimination in that market. The Center for Responsible Lending recently released an investigative report conducted by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which found non-white borrowers with stronger creditworthiness than white borrowers were treated worse and charged hundreds of dollars more for a car loan.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact Matthew Kravitz at matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org or 202-349-1859.