Democratic Sens. Author Report Blasting CFPB Response to Equifax Breach
May 4, 2018
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading a trio of Democratic senators in documenting what they claim to be “the first comprehensive review of consumer complaints in the wake of the 2017 Equifax breach,” adding criticism of how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has allegedly responded.
Warren, joined by her Senate Banking Committee colleagues Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, published “Breach of Trust: CFPB’s Complaint Database Shows Consumers Need Help After Equifax Breach,” a 12-page report that claimed the CFPB received more than 20,000 complaints from consumers related to the breach and Equifax’s response, along with “other issues with the company.”
“This report does the math,” the senators wrote. “It analyzes data and individual complaints from the CFPB’s consumer complaint database in order to determine the extent of the impact of the Equifax breach on consumers, the effectiveness of the CFPB response, and whether this data justified a CFPB investigation. Staff reviewed complaints that mention ‘Equifax’ between Sept. 7, 2017, the day the breach was announced, and March 7, 2018. Staff also read through individual complaints to understand the issues facing consumers.”
The report, which was not requested by the CFPB, cited media reports using anonymous sources that insisted Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Director of the CFPB, intentionally slowed the agency’s investigation into the Equifax breach. However, the report also pointedly refused to identify Mulvaney as the CFPB’s Acting Director, and the senators stated that they sent a copy of the report to “Acting CFPB Director Leandra English,” ignoring that two federal courts ruled against English’s claim that she hold that title.
The report offered no recommendations for specific enforcement actions against Equifax, but it insisted that Congress address the issue of data breaches by passing two pieces of legislation co-authored by Sen. Warren, the SECURE Act (co-written with Sen. Schatz) and the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act (co-written with Sen Mark Warner of Virginia).
“As part of its duty to consumers, the CFPB must continue a full-throated investigation into the Equifax breach, including the company’s response and its efforts to work with consumers to mitigate the harm and repair any damage,” the report stated.
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