Sun, Nov 26, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Trump appoints new director of financial watchdog

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed White House Office of Management and BudgetDirector Mick Mulvaney to head a financial watchdog that the administration has sought to overhaul as part of its deregulation push.

Mulvaney, who described the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a “sick, sad joke” in a 2014 interview, is to serve as acting director until a permanent head is nominated and confirmed, the White House said in a statement.

Former bureau director Richard Cordray, who had long been in the banking industry’s crosshairs, last week announced he would step down by the end of the month, several months early.

The Trump administration’s decision to appoint Mulvaney sparked some confusion over interim leadership, as Cordray had already named Leandra English — who was already part of the agency — as his de facto successor by naming her deputy director.

That move came hours before Trump tapped Mulvaney as the regulator’s temporary leader.

Since the start of his presidency, Trump has decried financial rules and regulations, put in place through the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to combat the excesses that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

The US Department of the Treasury under Trump has produced three reports calling for a whittling down of rules imposed on mid-size banks, a scaling back of stress tests and a restructuring of the bureau.

US Republicans have long deemed the bureau, founded in 2011 under the administration of then-US president Barack Obama, too far outside political control.

Last month, the US Senate voted to terminate a rule created by the agency that would have allowed class-action suits against banks or credit card companies.

The rule would have addressed fine-print clauses that bank and credit card consumers must agree to, which bar them from seeking redress through litigation.

The vote was criticized by many US Democrats as a sop to Wall Street.

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