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CFPB Faces Internal Strife Over Director’s Race-Related Blogging

Phil Hall
Oct 01, 2018
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that it has taken measures to make it easier for consumers with urgent financial needs to obtain access to mortgage credit more quickly in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic

An internal fight has erupted within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with the officer in charge of fair lending agitating against a top agency executive over race-related blog posts he wrote 14 years ago.
 
The Hill obtained an internal e-mail from Patrice Ficklin, Director of the CFPB’s Fair Lending Office, in which she told the agency’s staff that he asked Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to stop his proposed halt a reorganization after news reports concerning anonymous posts made in 2004 by Eric Blankenstein, the Policy Director for Supervision. Ficklin had initially issued a statement to the CFPB staff supporting Blankenstein, but in her latest e-mail, she expressed concern over ceding control of lending discrimination cases in view of what she dubbed “deeply disturbing and offensive” by Blankenstein that claimed most hate crimes were hoaxes. Blankenstein’s posts also downplayed the racist connotations connected with the use of the n-word.
 
“I no longer [have] faith that the Bureau’s obligation to enforce the fair lending laws with be faithfully discharged in the currently contemplated reorganized structure,” Ficklin wrote to agency employees.
 
Blankenstein affirmed his authorship of the posts last week in a Washington Post interview, but dismissed concerns about the contents of his earlier writing by stating “reading snippets of 14-year-old blog posts that have nothing to do with consumer protection law” was “a naked exercise in bad faith, and represents another nail in the coffin of civil discourse.”

 
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