Official Statement from the National Fair Housing Alliance Regarding CFPB Leadership

For Immediate Release
September 27, 2018

Contact: Jessica Aiwuyor | 202-898-1661 | jaiwuyor@nationalfairhousing.org


Official Statement from the National Fair Housing Alliance Regarding CFPB Leadership

Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article that unveiled the racist and derogatory writings of Eric Blankenstein, a senior official within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and one of the highest paid employees in the government.

The National Fair Housing Alliance is appalled that the CFPB has someone that is clearly unequipped to lead the Bureau’s anti-discrimination work or make decisions based on the principles of equality as part of its leadership. Eric Blankenstein’s past usage of the n-word and his denial of the prevalence and seriousness of hate crimes is not only deplorable but frightening. There is absolutely no factual basis for claiming that “hate-crime hoaxes are about three times as prevalent as actual hate crimes.” It is also disturbing that Mr. Blankenstein questioned the wisdom of heightening scrutiny around and the punishment of hate crimes. Civil rights groups have long supported increased penalties for hate-related crimes because of the damage and harm they cause for individuals and communities. We look to the CFPB to enforce important civil rights legislation like the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. We can not in good faith presume that Blankenstein’s past statements and his refusal to apologize for them, show a person ready and willing to fight discrimination and protect civil rights.

Acting Director, Mick Mulvaney, recently removed the Office of Fair Lending’s enforcement powers even after the National Fair Housing Alliance released a ground-breaking report highlighting discrimination in the auto lending finance market. The Bureau needs someone who understands the debilitating impacts of lending discriminatory and has a strong, proven track record of enforcing anti-discrimination laws leading its work to enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. It does not appear that Eric Blankenstein is that person. NFHA calls on Congress to investigate this matter and ensure that the Bureau’s leadership is comprised of people who have a proven commitment to and track record of enforcing our nation ’s anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

Millions of Americans depend on the CFPB to protect their civil rights and protect them from discriminatory and unscrupulous lending practices. CFPB leadership should uphold its mandate to enforce fair lending laws and has an obligation to hire people with the highest credentials for doing this important job.

 

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Founded in 1988, NFHA is a consortium of more than 220 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.

 

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