Banking and Finance Law Daily Where’s the money?
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Friday, September 27, 2019

Where’s the money?

By Katalina M. Bianco, J.D.

The senator is demanding to know why the CFPB has failed to provide monetary relief to victimized consumers.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Housing, and Urban Affairs, is critical of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Director Kathy Kraninger for providing "little and in some cases zero monetary relief for consumers" who are victims of predatory companies. According to Brown, enforcement actions under Kraninger and former acting director Mick Mulvaney are "a significant departure" from past actions that returned nearly $12 billion to consumers from 2012-2017.

"This is a critical function of the Bureau—restitution not only gets money back into the hands of victimized consumers, but also ensures that companies that rip off consumers do not get to keep their ill-gotten gains," Brown wrote in a letter to Kraninger.

The lawmaker provided a list of enforcement actions in which the CFPB failed to return funds to harmed consumers. He noted that a recent settlement with debt collector Asset Recovery Associates in August 2019, "continues this pattern of protecting bad actors instead of consumers." The Bureau determined that the debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Consumer Financial Protection Act by making false and deceptive statements to induce consumers to make payments yet limited restitution only to consumers who affirmatively "complained about a false threat or misrepresentation" by Asset Recovery Associates. Brown said this type of resolution "is not and never has been the standard for providing restitution to consumers." He added, "There was no legal basis for the Bureau to shortchange victimized consumers and limit restitution to just those consumers who complained."

Request for information. Brown included a list of specific information he is requesting from the Bureau based on the Asset Recovery Associates action, including the total amount of funds collected by the company from consumers. The lawmaker also requested the Bureau produce all related documentation and correspondence by Oct. 11, 2019.

Companies: Asset Recovery Associates

MainStory: TopStory CFPB DebtCollection EnforcementActions UDAAP

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