Equifax may wind up getting a slap on the wrist from the feds following its massive data breach.
Reuters, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reports that the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, has scaled back the agency’s investigation into the breach.
Mulvaney’s predecessor, Richard Cordray, launched the probe after Equifax in September revealed that hackers broke into its systems and stole the personal information of about 143 million US consumers. The hackers made away with names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, some driver’s license numbers, along with some credit card numbers and other documents containing personal information, Equifax revealed.
Following Cordray’s resignation in November, President Donald Trump appointed Mulvaney, who also serves as White House budget chief, as temporary head of the CFPB. Since then, the agency’s Equifax investigation “has sputtered,” Reuters reports.
“Three sources say… Mulvaney… has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, routine steps when launching a full-scale probe,” the report notes. “Meanwhile the CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data, an idea backed by Cordray.”
The agency also “recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus,” Reuters says.
“Giving Equifax a pass? The Administration should get on the side of consumers and focus on making sure hacks like the #EquifaxBreach don’t happen again,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, tweeted Monday in response to the news.
The Federal Trade Commission is also investigating the Equifax breach. Reuters reports that the CFPB and FTC had originally planned to coordinate their probes, but the former is dragging its heels under Mulvaney’s leadership. The FTC hasn’t penalized a major credit bureau since 2012, while the CFPB fined them more than $25 million last year, Reuters reports.