Seth Frotman, student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) submitted a letter of resignation to his boss, Acting Director of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney. It begins as most resignations would, but quickly veers into an indictment of the motives and mindset of the Trump administration.
“It is with great regret that I tender my resignation as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Loan Ombudsman,” Frotman begins. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to spend the past seven years working to protect American consumers; first under Holly Petraeus as the Bureau defended America’s military families from predatory lenders, for-profit colleges, and other unscrupulous businesses, and most recently leading the Bureau’s work on behalf of the 44 million Americans struggling with student loan debt.”
“However, after 10 months under your leadership, it has become clear that consumers no longer have a strong, independent Consumer Bureau on their side.”
Frotman goes on to explain the universal importance of consumer protections for student loan recipients.
“Each year, tens of millions of student loan borrowers struggle to stay afloat. For many, the CFPB has served as a lifeline—cutting through red tape, demanding systematic reforms when borrowers are harmed, and serving as the primary financial regulator tasked with holding student loan companies accountable when they break the law.”
“The challenges of student debt affect borrowers young and old, urban and rural, in professions ranging from to clergymen. Tackling these challenges should know no ideology or political persuasion. I had hoped to continue this critical work in partnership with you and your staff by using our authority under law to stand up for student loan borrowers trapped in a broken system.”
The resigning student loan ombudsman then accuses Mulvaney of a criticism many leveled against the embattled appointee of President Donald Trump: putting financial gains for big money donors and corporations ahead of consumers and taxpayers.
“Unfortunately, under your leadership, the Bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting. Instead, you have used the Bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America.”
Mick Mulvaney—the Trump administration appointee heading the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as well as acting Directing of the CFPB—famously stated about his time as a Republican Congressman for South Carolina:
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you.”
Frotman asserts in his resignation that Mulvaney continues that hierarchy now at the CFPB. If you gave money to the Trump campaign or Trump causes or spent money at Trump Organization properties, Mulvaney would talk to you, leaving average United States citizens out in the cold.
The man who once protected consumers from predatory student loans makes three specific allegations against Mulvaney’s leadership at the CFPB.
“As the Bureau official charged by Congress with overseeing the student loan market, I have seen how the current actions being taken by Bureau leadership are hurting families. In recent months, the Bureau has made sweeping changes, including:”
- Undercutting enforcement of the law
- Undermining the Bureau’s independence
- Shielding bad actors from scrutiny
Within each allegation, Frotman gave descriptions clearly pointing the finger at Mulvaney’s leadership and—by extension—the Trump administration. The resigning ombudsman made that indictment clear in the following conclusion of his resignation.