Consumer finance regulator mulls record fine for Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Faces Nasty Fine

That fact, made apparent by the lack of any new enforcement actions under his tenure, has fed the perception that Mulvaney is slamming the brakes at an agency widely known for its aggressive policing of the financial sector.

This hearing was perhaps a precursor to the issues that are likely to come up during his testimony to the Senate, such as CFPB's long-term structure and Mulvaney's approach to enforcement actions in what is being deemed to be a face-off between him and Senator Elizabeth Warren. That fine had been the agency's largest ever, according to Reuters.

The CFPB has about 100 ongoing investigations and is actively litigating 25 cases started under Cordray, Mulvaney stated.

"You are, thankfully, both a awful bureaucrat but a great leader - a most welcome change", Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri Republican, told Mulvaney early on in the proceedings.

Mulvaney has proposed changing those provisions, which he said Wednesday would resolve congressional frustration.

"This cycle will continue ad infinitum unless Congress acts to make the bureau accountable to the American people", he said.

Under Dodd-Frank, the CFPB's budget is overseen by the Fed, a move meant to give the bureau independence from the political whims of lawmakers and the president, given that the CFPB's director can only be removed by the president for cause.

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In his first testimony to Congress since his appointment as the bureau's acting director, Mulvaney acknowledged that many lawmakers have disagreed with his actions in the job, "just as many members disagreed with the actions of my predecessor".

Mulvaney told lawmakers that he's interested in gathering more data about potential changes to data required from companies under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), as well as the CFPB's controversial consumer complaint database.

"I have not burnt the place down", he continued.

Waters was not thrilled with Mulvaney's government lesson or his insistence that he was not destroying the CFPB, and cut off his answer.

"I believe it would be my statutory right to simply sit here and twiddle my thumbs for the next four hours while y'all ask questions", Mulvaney said.

Democrats and consumer advocates said the bureau's structure was created to keep it free of political influence so consumer protection efforts wouldn't be weakened by financial industry lobbying or starved of funding by congressional opponents.

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