U.S. consumer watchdog signals debt collection rules to come

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney speaks at a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., at the first day of the Government shutdown, January 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Consumers complain loudly about debt collectors and the industry may need fresh federal regulation to stamp out abuses, the head of the U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB) said on Tuesday.

Almost a third of consumer complaints to the CFPB have been tied to debt collectors, and those concerns deserve attention, Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CFPB, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“We will be prioritizing,” Mulvaney wrote about how debt collection concerns are a persistent area of consumer concern.

Mulvaney is Trump’s budget chief but has been leading the CFPB on a temporary basis since late November. Under his leadership, Mulvany said, industry will have a voice.

“We work for the people. That means everyone: Those who use credit cards and those who provide the credit,” he wrote.

The CFPB was created to stamp out exploitative loans, but the agency also can be too concerned with punishing industry, wrote Mulvaney.

Reporting By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Cynthia Osterman