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Trib editorial: Is CFPB realistic — or rabid?

| Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, 9:50 p.m.
Sally Greenberg, with the National Consumers League, holds a sign that says 'Defend CFPB' outside of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington last November. (AP Photo)
Sally Greenberg, with the National Consumers League, holds a sign that says 'Defend CFPB' outside of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington last November. (AP Photo)

The fiscal watchdog created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and hailed by liberals may turn out to be rabid, according to a whistleblower's unsettling allegation.

Cassandra Jackson, a former examiner for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch an investigation based on her complaint that CFPB superiors asked her to “change, remove and otherwise falsify” documents connected with Ace Cash Express, a Texas-based payday lender, according to a letter released by the U.S. Consumer Coalition, a consumer-advocacy group.

“Unfortunately her claims are all too familiar to the dedicated employees serving under the direction of CFPB management,” said Brian J. Wise, coalition president.

Ms. Jackson said she was asked to remove documents proving Ace Cash Express complied with CFPB rules. When she refused, managers “proceeded to modify the report.” Subsequently Ace Cash Express in 2014 was forced to offer $5 million in refunds and pay a $5 million fine, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

We're no defenders of any predatory lenders. But from its onset, CFPB has raised concerns over its unbridled power over lending institutions. The agency determines what business practices are abusive, deceptive or discriminatory and levies fines as it deems fit.

What's alleged by the whistleblower amounts to fraud. It demands a determination by the attorney general. And if CFPB, in its watchdog capacity, is playing fast and loose with the lenders it fines, it should be put down.

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