GAO: Trump’s CFPB Couldn’t Justify Reorganization of Fair Lending Office

Appearing to confirm the suspicions of Democratic critics, the Government Accountability Office reported Monday that the Trump Administration haphazardly reorganized the consumer bureau’s fair lending office, resulting in confusion at the agency and a drop in enforcement actions.

In a scathing report, the Government Accountability Office said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, under then Acting Director Mick Mulvaney and then former Director Kathleen Kraninger, failed to produce any documentation to justify transferring the agency’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity to another branch in the director’s office.

House Financial Services Dems Push for $8.5 Million Boost for Credit Union Community Development Fund

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee are asking congressional budget writers for an $8.5 million increase for the National Credit Union Administration’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund in FY22.

That represents an increase of almost 567% over the $1.5 million the program received during the current fiscal year. The Democrats said that 40% of the CDRLF funds should be set aside for Minority Depository Institutions.

House Passes Marijuana Banking Bill as NAFCU, CUNA Endorse Measure

The House passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would provide banks and credit unions with a regulatory safe harbor if they provide financial services to marijuana related businesses in states where cannabis is legal. The bill also stops a possible “Operation Choke Point,” prohibiting financial regulators from requiring an institution to stop doing business with a company solely based on the company’s reputational risk. The fate of the bill in the Senate is not clear.

CFPB Rescinds Kraninger’s Policy on ‘Abusive Acts or Practices’

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it plans to change a Trump Administration policy and that it will now take enforcement and supervisory actions as a result of abusive acts or practices. It will no longer follow the policy instituted by former Director Kathy Kraninger that significantly narrowed the definition of “abusive acts or practices” and thus avoided enforcement actions under those terms. The new policy will take effect the day it is published in the Federal Register.

GOP Senators Push Legislation to Prevent ‘Operation Choke Point’

Republican senators this week introduced legislation that would prohibit large banks and credit unions from refusing to provide banking services to legal businesses. It is an attempt to prevent the Biden Administration from restarting Operation Choke Point, an Obama Administration project that was intended to hold financial institutions accountable for processing known fraudulent transactions. Republicans worry that approach would allow banks to avoid providing services to gun-related businesses and other controversial business ventures.