February 23, 2018

Warren, Blumenthal, Merkley Press Mulvaney on Failure to Explain Sudden Actions Benefitting Payday Lenders

Mulvaney's Close Ties to Payday Loan Industry Raise Concerns

Text of letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, urging him to provide clarity on the rationale for his recent actions benefiting payday and installment lenders. The senators were among those who first wrote to Mr. Mulvaney on January 31st, questioning his actions to benefit the payday industry. Mulvaney's response to the letter raised questions about the senators' motivations for standing up for consumers, instead of explaining his recent actions to benefit an industry that has contributed more than $60,000 to his political campaigns.

"You have failed to provide any clarity on the rationale for your actions to harm consumers," wrote the senators. "Our January 31, 2018 letter asked a series of simple questions about the reasons for your decisions on payday lenders. But you failed to answer a single one of our questions."

The January 31st letter explained in detail why the senators thought Mulvaney's payday loan actions were unjustified and harmful to consumers. Just in the last month, Mulvaney has halted implementation of the agency's "Payday Rule" designed to protect consumers from predatory lending practices, withdrew a lawsuit against four deceptive payday lenders who charged interest rates approaching 1000%, and discontinued an investigation into World Acceptance Corporation, a high-cost installment lender, which engaged in aggressive collection practices and trapped customers into years of debt. These actions have unwound years of careful work by the Consumer Bureau and benefited an industry that has close ties to Mulvaney.

Mulvaney's February 15th response to the letter ignored the senators' questions and implied that the senators opposed the reversal of the CFPB's forced arbitration rule because of political contributions they had received. In their response today, the senators noted that they had each provided lengthy remarks on the Senate floor explaining their support of the CFPB rule - in contrast to Mulvaney's continued public silence about his rationale for his pro-payday actions. 

The senators are sending their January 31st letter to Mulvaney again and calling on him to answer all their questions by no later than March 9, 2018.

Text of January 31st letter available here. Text of Mulvaney's response available here. Text of Senators' follow-up letter available here.