Republicans Unhappy with Independent Bank Watchdog


The free-market crowd, a sidekick of the “banksters” who create the money supply at interest, must have a playbook stashed somewhere.

Without it, there’d be no way for the nation’s top “silver spoons” to keep their story straight when they argue that the most protected caste in history—that being themselves—must get their way and those in the lower classes needn’t fret about a lack of protection.

Enter House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas): On Nov. 30, he said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s leadership isn’t the core problem.

In the wake of Obama appointee Richard Cordroy’s decision to exit his CFPB directorship —and President Trump’s subsequent move to install OMB Director (and former Financial Services Committee member) Mick Mulvaney as interim CFPB director—Hensarling is eyeing a bigger target.

“This is a last, desperate gasp of the previous director [Cordroy] who came in under a legal cloud and he will go out under a legal cloud.” he remarked. “[T]he problem is not so much who is running the CFPB. The problem is the CFPB. This is an agency that absolutely has to be reformed.”

But then he went off the rails a bit: “We have an institution [the CFPB] that is arguably the most powerful, unaccountable agency in the history of our Republic. Ostensibly they’re supposed to be … on the forefront of consumer protection and they’re totally asleep at the wheel on Wells Fargo, where obviously cases of theft and cases of fraud took place.”

Really, Jeb.

First of all, sir, the most powerful, unaccountable agency in the history of our Republic is the Federal Reserve System.

That’s the private, I repeat, private central bank that keeps Congress and even the president out of its Open Market Committee (monetary-policy) meetings and holds the keys to the nation’s financial kingdom.

The Fed, over which your committee has chief oversight, is also the chief agency that regulates the banks, given the relatively new and far-reaching regulatory powers that your committee granted to the Fed, making it even more powerful.

That being said, the Frontier Group, a center-left research institute, noted that the CFPB has undertaken a new investigation regarding “a wave of lawsuits over [Wells Fargo Bank’s apparently illegal] mortgage practices ... Elizabeth Warren [Democratic Massachusetts Senator] sent a letter to the Federal Reserve with an unprecedented demand that the Fed seek the removal of Wells Fargo’s board of directors.”

So, while the CFPB did take appreciable action regarding Wells Fargo’s practices, it’s evidently up to the Federal Reserve to “go medieval” on Wells Fargo, not the CFPB.

For the record, the young CFPB was born in July of 2011, via the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Established as an independent agency with minimal congressional oversight, it’s authorized to take action against financial institutions engaging in unfair, deceptive or abusive practices that violate consumer-protection laws.

One of the most recent claims of CFPB effectiveness comes from the agency itself. According to its Nov. 21 press release, the CFPB:

“[T]ook action against Citibank, N.A. for student loan servicing failures that harmed borrowers. Citibank misled borrowers into believing that they were not eligible for a valuable tax deduction on interest paid on certain student loans. [among other abuses] … The Bureau is ordering Citibank to end these illegal servicing practices, and to pay $3.75 million in redress to consumers and a $2.75 million civil money penalty.”

Furthermore, the CFPB ordered the credit-reporting companies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian to pay $26 million in restitution and penalties for misrepresenting how their credit scores are used.

Meanwhile, Mulvaney’s background raises questions on whether the CFPB will continue its reasonably pro-consumer mission under his tutelage. For one thing, Mulvaney — a former South Carolina state legislator who later served in Congress — has gotten especially high marks from the free-market Club for Growth.

The club’s PAC raises money only for those lawmakers who will work for “entitlement” reform, as well as free trade, tort reform, school choice and deregulation. According to the Washington journal Politico, “The Club for Growth is the pre-eminent institution promoting Republican adherence to a free-market, free-trade, anti-regulation agenda.”

Also, the Trump administration is considering prohibiting any further publication of consumer complaints listed on the CFPB website. Since the CFPB database was established in 2011, more than 730,000 complaints have been published for public view.

But here’s where things get rather strange. Trump also is considering other free-marketers to head the CFPB—ironically including Hensarling himself.

Todd Zwyicki, a George Mason University professor at the libertarian Mercatus Center, is another candidate.

Ultimately, though, under a debt-based money system with a virtually all-borrowed money supply, the borrowing, the debts and the abuse can never end. The banks naturally acquire more power and harm a struggling public that’s forced to be subservient to this system. Meanwhile, the White House’s moves to place the CFPB, whatever its imperfections, under the sway of a free-market ideology will encourage even more monopoly capitalism, not real free enterprise.

Mark Anderson is a veteran journalist who divides his time between Texas and Michigan. Email him at

From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2018

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