Mick Mulvaney says CFPB can’t be a 'gold-standard' agency while it’s still ‘Elizabeth Warren’s baby’

Key Points
  • Until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, originally proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, can break out of her shadow, the agency cannot be a top-tier regulator, says its acting director.
  • "We are still Elizabeth Warren's baby," says Mick Mulvaney, a vocal critic of the Obama-era bureau. "Until we break that we will never be considered a gold standard institution."
  • Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted Tuesday that she would block President Trump's CFPB nomination as leverage in the larger immigration debate.
Mick Mulvaney
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says until the agency breaks out of Senator Elizabeth Warren's shadow, it cannot operate as a "gold-standard" regulator.

"We are still Elizabeth Warren's baby," CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney said at the Future of Fintech conference in New York Wednesday. "Until we break that we will never be considered a gold-standard institution."

Mulvaney and other Republicans have been ardent critics of the Obama-era consumer watchdog bureau, which was originally proposed by Massachusetts Senator Warren. Its creation was included eight years ago in the Dodd–Frank financial reforms and the CFPB officially came into being in 2011.

The CFPB focuses on consumer protection in the financial sector, and oversees banks, credit unions and other U.S. firms. During his tenure as acting director, Mulvaney oversaw a $1 billion fine on Wells Fargo for violating consumer financial protection laws.

But he has also tried to curtail the agency. "The bureau has never been through a transition, we're going to learn how to do that," Mulvaney said, referring to changes after Donald Trump's election as president. "The bureau is different, we are associated with our founding, the principles of someone who founded us."

Mulvaney, who also runs the White House budget office, was tapped by President Trump in November to temporarily run the bureau after the departure of its original director, Richard Cordray.

The CFPB became a topic in the heated debate on President Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy this week.

On Tuesday, Sen. Warren said she would block President Trump's nominee for an official replacement for Cordray, Kathy Kraninger, until she turns over documents concerning any role she might have played in separating children from their parents at the Southern U.S. border. Kraninger is an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget.

"I will put a hold on her nomination — & fight it at every step — until she turns over all documents," Sen. Warren said in the tweet.


After bipartisan calls from Senator Warren and Republicans to at least temporarily end the family separation policy, on Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order that he says will keep families together if they are detained on the U.S.-Mexico border.

For days the White House insisted an end to the splitting of migrant families on the border could only happen through congressional action.

Despite Senator Warren's threats, Mulvaney said he expects Kraninger to be confirmed by the end of the fourth quarter.