Under Trump, The Consumer Finance Bureau Now Helps Payday Lenders

Screengrab/The Young Turks/YouTube

Interim CFPB head Mick Mulvaney recently dropped a lawsuit against online lenders charging 900-percent interest rates.

The election of President Donald Trump appears to have been a boon for payday lenders - a group suddenly finding favor with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the leadership of interim head Mick Mulvaney.

As previously reported, new rule that was soon to take effect has been put on hold as the bureau reevaluates the merit of the payday lending regulation.

Mulvaney also dropped a CFPB lawsuit that was going after online lenders charging up to 900 percent interest.

But the nature of payday loans garners mixed responses, with those who need them thankful they are available, others who see the lenders as preying on vulnerable individuals, and yet others in between who simply want to see the industry reined in but not ended.

Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah, says the problem is not the nature of the service but how it is implemented, as well as how quickly it can turn into a borrowing habit.

Interest charged on payday loans can be astronomical -- 200-300 percent in some states. Under Mulvaney, the CFPB dropped a lawsuit filed by the bureau's previous leadership against online lenders charging interest at 900 percent.

"These loans have been found by Congress to be so dangerous that they have been prohibited for the military, and it was George W. Bush that signed that into law," he says of the Republican former president.

Peterson was also an adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when it crafted its payday loan rule for the rest of the country.

Should Mulvaney determine that new rule is too burdensome for lenders, the CFPB could end up in court again - this time on the other end of a lawsuit.

Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, said "it is outrageous" that Trump would place Mulvaney at the head of CFPB.

Calhoun says if Mulvaney moves to scrap the payday loan rule, his nonprofit and others would file lawsuits to try to preserve the rule.

"Mulvaney took over $60,000 in campaign cash from the payday lenders when he was in Congress. He is deep in the pocket of the payday lenders and he's doing everything he can to help them."