CFPB Chief Declines Federal Reserve Funding for Quarter

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declined funding from the Federal Reserve for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, marking yet another departure from his predecessor.

“I have determined that no additional funds are necessary to carry out the authorities of the Bureau for FY 2018, Q2,” Mick Mulvaney wrote in a Wednesday letter to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, the director of the CFPB can submit quarterly funding requests to the Fed, generally in the amount that he or she feels is necessary for the bureau to carry out its duties.

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For the first quarter of fiscal 2018, former director Richard Cordray asked the Fed for $217.1 million, which the CFPB granted within a week. For the final quarter of fiscal 2017, that figure was $84.6 million.

But Mulvaney pointedly asked for $0 in his first request as acting director, arguing that the CFPB’s existing reserve fund of $177.1 million is more than enough to cover the projected second quarter expenses of $145 million. Because the Fed has generally always granted the bureau’s requests for funding, Mulvaney reasoned, the CFPB doesn’t need such a large reserve — and he thus plans to spend down the balance before he asks for more cash.

“Simply put, I have been assured that the funds currently in the Bureau Fund are sufficient for the Bureau to carry out its statutory mandates for the next fiscal quarter while striving to be efficient, effective, and accountable,” he wrote.

Unlike previous requests for funding, Mulvaney sent his directly to Yellen, the head of the Fed; under Cordray, those submissions went to other high-ranking officials.

Mulvaney also framed his decision to decline funding as a way to reduce the national debt, since the Fed’s earnings are occasionally turned over to the Treasury Department.

“While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the Bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he wrote.

The news comes just a day after Mulvaney and the CFPB announced a long-term plan to seek more input on the bureau’s rulemaking and enforcement activities from the public and the business community.

A lawsuit over Mulvaney’s right to the director position — brought by Leandra English, Cordray’s desired successor — remains ongoing.

While the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration remain the ultimate authorities on reverse mortgage enforcement actions, the CFPB has been active in policing the industry in recent years — including investigations into deceptive advertising practices that led to fines, and a report about using reverse mortgage proceeds to delay Social Security payments.

Written by Alex Spanko