Daily Archives: November 28, 2017

Wells Fargo overcharged hundreds of business clients: report

Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -0.26% cheated a number of their foreign-currency exchange business customers by overcharging them, according to a Wall Street Journal report late Monday. According to the Journal, an internal review found that out of about 300 fee agreements, only 35 companies ended up paying what they were originally told the price was. Foreign-exchange employees received bonuses based on how much revenue they generated, sources told the Journal, and the bank charged unusually high fees. According to the report, the overcharging scheme relied on customers not double-checking how much they were charged, confusing fees and Wells Fargo brushing off complaints.

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THE LAWYER WHO wrote the Office of Legal Counsel memo supporting the Trump administration’s viewpoint that the president can appoint Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau represented a payday lender in front of the CFPB last year.

Steven A. Engel wrote the memo for OLC, which has been criticized by academics for seeking a conclusion and working backward to justify it. “Let’s be honest, this is an argument where you get the answer, and then you go to the other side of the equation,” said former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a lead author of the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB. Engel was confirmed as an assistant attorney general earlier this month by a voice vote in the Senate.

But in July 2015, Engel was one of two lead counsels for NDG Financial Corp., a Canadian payday lender that CFPB cited for running a nine-year scheme to use its foreign status to offer U.S. customers high-cost loans that were at odds with state and federal law. “We are taking action against the NDG Enterprise for collecting money it had no right to take from consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the time. Engel was active in the case up until August of this year.

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Trump Conflict Of Interest: CFPB Pick Mulvaney Linked To Lobbyist For Bank Facing Possible CFPB Sanctions

Trump is trying to install former lawmaker and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to head the CFPB, after the resignation of its former chief, Obama appointee Richard Cordray. Federal recordsshow Mulvaney’s longtime staffer is Natalee Binkholder, who left Mulvaney’s office to work as a top lobbyist for Santander – a major bank.

The records show Binkholder worked for Mulvaney from 2011 to 2017, ultimately serving as his chief of staff in the U.S. House.Federal records show that in representing Santander in 2017, Binkholder has lobbied on a congressional bill to kill a CFPB rule designed to prevent financial firms from forcing customers to waive their rights to join class action lawsuits.

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Former CFPB enforcement chief resigned from the bureau, will lead Consumer Financial Services Enforcement Practice at Goodwin

Anthony Alexis, who served as the CFPB’s head of enforcement and recently announced his resignation from the bureau, is joining Goodwin, a law firm.

Alexis announced his resignation last month, stepping down from a role that placed him at the forefront of how the CFPB enforced financial regulations. At the CFPB, Alexis developed and managed the CFPB’s enforcement strategy, coordinated investigations and the prosecution of litigation, along with leading the resolution of major regulatory matters within the CFPB’s purview.

Earlier this month, the bureau tapped long-time CFPB employee Kristen Donoghue to replace Alexis.

While at the CFPB, Donoghue rose from enforcement attorney, to assistant litigation deputy in the office of enforcement, to assistant deputy director for policy and strategy in the office of enforcement, to deputy enforcement director, and finally to principal deputy enforcement director – serving as Alexis’ top deputy.

Now, Alexis is moving to Goodwin, where he will serve as a partner in the firm’s Financial Industry Practice and as the head of the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Enforcement Practice.

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