As the leadership at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has changed to a more business friendly leader, the new head of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney is not going to move forward with a full scale probe of how Equifax failed to protect the information of over a hundred million consumers.
The former director, Richard Cordray, ordered an investigation right after the breach. Since then, the CFPB has not done much to investigate Equifax.
In particular, Mulvaney has not issued any subpoenas and has not gotten any sworn testimony from Equifax executives.
The CFPB also, reportedly, rebuffed offers of help from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
While the President can, likely, tell Mulvaney to back off on Equifax, every state Attorney General is investigating Equifax. Those AGs, some Democrats and some Republicans, are beyond the reach of the feds ability to control since they will be looking at whether Equifax broke state and not federal laws.
The FTC is investigating Equifax. The last time they fined a credit bureau, the amount of the fine was $393,000 – pocket change for a multi billion dollar company.
The CFPB fined credit bureaus over $25 million last year alone, which one would assume, was well known by whoever told the CFPB to not investigate things too hard.
Cordray asked bank regulators to do new exams of all of the credit bureaus. Last month Mulvaney told the regulators that there would be no new exams.
The crux of this may be the dispute between the Democrats and Republicans on what authority the CFPB actually has. That has been the subject of a seven year long court battle. TransUnion said that the CFPB has no authority to examine the credit bureaus over cyber security issues and that certainly is possible.
That being said, 50 Attorneys General, all of whom have political aspirations, should be able to effectively get Equifax’s attention.
Congress, for its part, has done nothing to increase the oversight of the credit bureaus since the breach, even though months have passed. That should not seem like much of a surprise for a Congress that can’t even fund the government for more than a couple of weeks at a time.
Information for this post came from Reuters.