CFPB spoke with industry execs before relaxing payday loan rules
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held negotiations with a prominent payday-loan executive before the US agency rolled back stiff regulations of the controversial industry that had been slated to take effect this year, The Post has learned.
Hilary Miller, president of the Short-Term Loan Bar Association, a trade group for lawyers representing payday lenders, confirmed to The Post that he represented individual lenders in discussions with the CFPB last year, in the months before the agency scrapped onerous rules proposed in 2017 that had been slated to go into effect this summer.
The off-hand comment, which Miller confirmed to The Post in an email last month, directly contradicts a statement made to the Washington Post earlier this week by Marisol Garibay, the CFPB’s acting chief communications officer.
“The bureau did not discuss its proposal to rescind the rule with industry officials before making the announcement,” Garibay said, the newspaper reported on Monday.
Asked this week by The Post about the apparent contradiction, Garibay responded, “Can we talk off the record?” When a Post reporter told her no, she didn’t respond to further emails and voicemails seeking clarification.
The CFPB, which regulates the lenders, has been under scrutiny from consumer advocates over perceived conflicts of interest with the payday loan industry.
The Post exclusively reported last month that Miller had advised academics on writing reports that would be favorable to the industry, and had undisclosed ties to a Columbia professor whose research had been seen as independent.
Consumer advocates have griped that the CFPB’s former acting director, Mick Mulvaney, canceled an investigation into one payday lender and dropped a lawsuit against another during his 13-month tenure, which ended in December.
Mulvaney had taken campaign contributions from the payday industry while he was a member of the US House of Representatives from South Carolina. Now President Trump’s acting chief of staff, he has denied that the campaign funds presented any conflict of interest during his tenure atop the CFPB.
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