Citing an abundance of cash on-hand, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney requested zero dollars for the bureau's second quarter budget, breaking from its previous director's requests of $217.1 million the previous quarter.
The bureau, which was put in place following the 2008 financial crisis, "returned nearly $12 billion to nearly 30 million ripped-off consumers, cracking down on predatory lenders and bullying debt collectors and a range of Wall Street scoundrels" under its previous administrator, Richard Cordray.
In a letter to Fed Chair Janet Yellen obtained by POLITICO, Mulvaney wrote that the bureau has $177 million in the bank, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau has budgeted for its second quarter. Cordray had maintained a “reserve fund” in case of overruns or emergencies, but Mulvaney said he didn’t see any reason for it, since the Fed has always given the bureau the money it needs. Mulvaney, who is also Trump’s budget director, noted that instead of advancing the funds to the bureau, the Fed could return them to the Treasury and reduce the deficit.
Mulvaney was a peculiar pick from the start, having indicated ill feelings toward the bureau from its inception:
As a member of Congress, Mulvaney (R-S.C.) routinely denounced it as an overzealous regulator, and on his first day at the bureau after replacing Cordray in November, he trashed his new workplace as “an awful example of a bureaucracy gone wrong.”
During a press conference after assuming the role, Mulvaney reassured that he would not close down the bureau, saying, "Rumors that I'm going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false." But he has wasted no time in making significant changes:
Earlier this week, he announced the bureau would reconsider its new rules designed to protect consumers from payday-lending debt traps, and Wednesday, he launched a formal review of how the bureau demands information from firms it investigates. He has even revamped the agency’s mission statement; the new wording suggests that its first priority should be “identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations.”