As we have detailed here and here, there is no shortage of continued criminal activity in some of our nation's largest banks. These are not misdemeanors of the distant past, but current, and sometimes ongoing, criminal acts. Instead of increasing regulatory scrutiny, however, the very branches of government that are meant to safeguard consumers are rolling back their oversight.
In one example, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, has recently suggested shutting down a public database where people can lodge complaints against financial companies. Bureau officials had used the database to assess potential infractions and to gather evidence. The is the same Mulvaney that also bragged about meeting only with lobbyists that contributed to his campaigns in an almost admission of an illegal pay-to-play scheme.
Federal banking regulators have also proposed softening a requirement that puts a hard limit on how much the largest banks can borrow. The current rule constrains a bank's leverage ratio and requires that banks prepare for financial turbulence (anyone remember 2008?) by maintaining a certain level of capital on their balance sheets based on their total size. What's that old saying about those who forget the past?