Trump's consumer watchdog says will limit agency's powers

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) - The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will pull back its activities and seek to promote a free market for financial services, the agency said on Monday.

The CFPB was conceived to stamp out predatory lending and the agency is now led by Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director.

Mulvaney wrote on Monday that the seven-year-old agency should not seek to punish financial services companies.

“If there is one way to summarize the strategic changes occurring at the Bureau, it is this: we have committed to fulfill the Bureau’s statutory responsibilities, but go no further,” Mulvaney wrote in a mission statement for the agency.

Mulvaney said the agency would aim to protect vulnerable seniors from financial fraud. And the CFPB will continue to protect consumers who are ensnared in unfair, deceptive or abusive practices.

Monday’s report was a five-year plan for the bureau.

It did not give any examples of cases where the agency pushed its existing authority too far.

The statement notes that the agency is charged with regulating consumer financial products under the law. An agency memo that previewed the new mission said the CFPB will pursue a vision of “free, innovative, competitive, and transparent consumer finance markets where the rights of all parties are protected.”

The CFPB will seek the counsel of others for its decisions and act with “humility and moderation,” the agency wrote.

Reporting by Reuters Newsroom; Editing by David Gregorio and Sandra Maler