In that legislation, the CFPB was created as an independent consumer-protection agency. However, critics say its structure has allowed the bureau to be an overzealous regulator with no oversight.
Consumer advocates, however, point to the more than $12 billion returned to wronged consumers under Mulvaney's predecessor, Richard Cordray. Since Mulvaney took over, $92.6 million has been sent to consumers from its Civil Penalty Fund, although the distribution arose from a case handled before he came on board.
During Mulvaney's tenure, no new enforcement actions have been initiated.
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"All of the actions we've seen [by Mulvaney] are consistent with a director who wants to take the bureau in a significantly different direction than it had been going," said Chris Willis, head of the consumer financial services litigation practice group for Ballard Spahr in Atlanta.
As far as the proposed congressional oversight for funding and approval of major new rules goes, supporters of the bureau say such changes would reduce the effectiveness of the CFPB.
"Due to political agendas and the influence of campaign contributions, it's doubtful Congress would approve major new protections or the funding needed for the Consumer Bureau to do its job," said Mike Litt, consumer campaign director with consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG.