The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has quietly shifted the control of its Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (OFLEO) under the direct authority of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.
News of this shift was first reported by The Intercept
, which obtained an interoffice CFPB e-mail announcing the decision. Since the CFPB began operations, OFLEO was under the control of the Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending Division. With this change, the direct supervision of OFLEO will become part of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Fairness (OEOF), the personnel division within Mulvaney’s office.
Mulvaney stated in his e-mail that “the Fair Lending Office will continue to focus on advocacy, coordination, and education, while its current supervision and enforcement functions will remain in SEFL. I do not expect that staff will experience changes in employment status, but it is possible that some may experience changes in jobs and duties.”
OFLEO was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to conduct “oversight and enforcement of federal laws intended to ensure the fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit,” including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Mulvaney explained his decision to split OFLEO’s functions was meant to to “help make the Bureau more efficient, effective, and accountable” in a manner that “reduces redundancy and makes the best use of resources.”
The CFPB did not respond to requests for comment on its organizational change. However, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is credited as the architect of the CFPB, responded to the news by claiming it would create a new wave of economic disparity.
“Since Mick Mulvaney took over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a couple months ago, he’s done nothing but undermine it,” she wrote on Facebook
. “Step after step to weaken protections for consumers, and wink after wink to predatory payday lenders and big banks. The latest example? Undermining the federal unit that investigates housing discrimination and lending discrimination–leaving neighborhoods and consumers across the country more vulnerable.”