CFPB’s Mick Mulvaney’s decision to eliminate Bureau’s Office of Students and Young Consumers leaves borrowers vulnerable to lending abuses

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Senior Attorney
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Consumers Union reiterates call for permanent, Senate-confirmed  CFPB director dedicated to carrying out its vital consumer protection mission

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney’s decision today to eliminate the Office of Students and Young Consumers raises serious concerns about the Bureau’s future ability to uncover and stop abusive lending practices, according to Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.  The move comes as education debt has climbed to over $1.5 trillion and after tens of thousands of borrowers have filed complaints with the CFPB about unfair treatment by lenders.

“The Office of Students and Young Consumers has been instrumental in uncovering rampant lending abuses and deceptive practices that make it difficult for borrowers to manage their education debt responsibly,” said Suzanne Martindale, senior attorney for Consumers Union.  “It makes no sense to eliminate this critical office at a time when millions of Americans need a watchdog working to make sure lenders and loan servicers are following the law and treating them fairly.”

Research by the Office of Students and Young Consumers prompted the CFPB to file a lawsuit against Navient, the nation’s largest student loan servicer, for providing borrowers inaccurate information, processing payments incorrectly, and failing to take action to address consumer complaints.  The CFPB’s lawsuit charges that Navient violated the law by making it harder for struggling borrowers with federal loans to enroll in more affordable repayment options they had a right to access to help manage their debts.

“Mick Mulvaney is supposed to be serving as a temporary director of the CFPB but he has undertaken a major overhaul of the Bureau that is seriously weakening its ability to protect consumers,” said Martindale.  “We need a permanent, Senate-confirmed director of the CFPB dedicated to carrying out its vital consumer watchdog mission.”

Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537 (cell)