READ: Top Student Loan Watchdog Quits, Says Mulvaney Serves Financial Companies

UNITED STATES - APRIL 18: Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on FY2019 Budget for OMB on April 18, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Student Loan Ombudsman,” responsible for guarding student borrowers against predatory lenders and scammers, has resigned in a scathing letter aimed at acting CFPB director Mick Mulvaney.

“Unfortunately, under your leadership, the Bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting,” Seth Frotman’s resignation letter, obtained by NPR, read. “Instead, you have used the Bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America.”

In his role at CFPB, NPR reported, Frotman oversaw the review of thousands of complaints from student borrowers.

The Trump administration — namely Mulvaney, who also serves as the White House’s budget director, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — has worked diligently to burn pages of Obama-era protections for student borrowers.

Frotman’s letter pointed to specific wrongdoing by Mulvaney, NPR reported, including the alleged suppression of a report from his office revealing that big banks were “saddling [students] with legally dubious account fees.”

In May, NPR noted, Mulvaney called for Frotman’s office to be incorporated into the Office of Financial Education, effectively proposing to remove Frotman’s office from direct enforcement actions and shifting it to an educational role.

Regarding another change — the Department of Education’s announcement last year that it would no longer share federal student loan oversight data with the CFPB — Frotman wrote: “The Bureau’s current leadership folded to political pressure… and failed borrowers who depend on independent oversight to halt bad practices.”

Read NPR’s full report here, or read Frotman’s resignation letter, via NPR, below:

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