September 5, 2018

The mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to protect consumers, though there is reason to believe that the leadership of the agency, including CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, has neglected to do so by blocking the release of a report about banks charging student loan borrowers dubious fees on their accounts. CREW sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CFPB today for the report as well as communications about any efforts to prevent it being issued publicly, and communications with Congress about the report.

Seth Frotman resigned from his position as CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman on August 27, 2018 citing concerns that leadership of the agency was “[s]hielding bad actors from scrutiny” and “turn[ing] its back on young people and their financial futures.” In his resignation letter, he revealed the existence of the report requested by CREW. Frotman’s letter stated that “when new evidence came to light showing that the nation’s largest banks were ripping off students on campuses across the country by saddling them with legally dubious account fees, Bureau leadership suppressed the publication of a report prepared by Bureau staff.”

Releasing the report itself, and communications about its publication would contribute to a greater understanding of whether the CFPB is actually working to protect consumers, in accordance with its mission. As CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney has formerly called for the agency to shut down, there is reason to believe that leadership of the CFPB may be working to undermine the mission that they are charged with fulfilling.

Read the FOIA request here.