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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 1:00 am

Payday lender ex-CEO seeking watchdog job

KEN SWEET | Associated Press

NEW YORK – The former CEO of a payday lending company that had been under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has asked to be considered for the top job at the watchdog agency, The Associated Press has learned.

Under Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director and acting director of the CFPB, the bureau has taken a decidedly friendlier approach to the financial industry than under the Obama administration, including cutting down on enforcement and dropping investigations or lawsuits against payday lenders and other companies. It has also proposed to revise or rescind many rules put into place by Richard Cordray, the first permanent director of the agency, including some that would have put additional restrictions on payday lenders.

Under Cordray, the CFPB opened in investigation into lending practices at World Acceptance. On Jan. 22, the company said the investigation had been completed without enforcement action. It also said CEO Janet Matricciani had resigned after 21/2 years in that position.

Two days later, Matricciani sent an email to what appears to be Mulvaney's personal email address to pitch herself as a candidate to lead the CFPB.

“I would love to apply for the position of director of the CFPB. Who better than me understand the need to treat consumers respectfully and honestly, and the equal need to offer credit to lower income consumers in order to help them manage their daily lives?,” Matricciani wrote to Mulvaney. She attached her resume to the email.

She goes so far as to cite the CFPB's investigation into her company as an experience that uniquely qualifies her for the job.

“I have indepth (sic) experience of what a CFPB investigation is like, and so I am in an unparalleled position to understand the effect of various CFPB actions on a company, its workforce, its customers and the industry,” she says.