With acting director Mick Mulvaney’s tenure at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau scheduled to end, by statute, on June 22, the White House this weekend nominated Kathy Kraninger, his subordinate at the Office and Budget Management, to take over. Mulvaney also serves as OMB director.
Kraninger, 43, previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security and for the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee. A native of Pittsburgh, she is a graduate of Marquette University and Georgetown Law School.
“She will bring a fresh perspective and much-needed management experience to the BCFP, which has been plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas,” the White House said in a statement. “As a staunch supporter of free enterprise, she will continue the reforms of the Bureau initiated by acting director Mick Mulvaney, and ensure that consumers and markets are not harmed by fraudulent actors.”
Previous CFPB director Rob Cordray, under constant attack by the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans, resigned from the Bureau last year to run for governor of Ohio. In replacing him, the White House relied on the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to nominate Mulvaney. The law allows for an appointed acting director to serve no more than 210 days, unless a nomination for a full-time director is made, in which case Mulvaney can retain the post until there is a Senate confirmation of that nominee.
Throughout his tenure, Mulvaney has attempted to recast the Bureau as a more business-friendly institution, while also slashing the agency’s budget, attempting to halt the enforcement of rules aimed at payday lenders, setting the stage to end the Bureau’s public consumer complaint database, and disbanding public advisory groups.
Kraninger’s nomination was praised by the American Banker’s Association.
“We congratulate Kathy Kraninger on her nomination to lead the CFPB. Her experience at OMB alongside acting CFPB director Mulvaney, along with her years of work on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch, would serve her well in this important position,” Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO, said in a statement. “We trust she shares our interest in ensuring consumers have access to the financial products they want and need, while maintaining the protections they deserve.”
“We also appreciate acting director Mulvaney’s willingness to review the Bureau’s policies and priorities to ensure they are meeting the Bureau’s mission, and we hope Ms. Kraninger will build on that foundation,” he added. “We look forward to learning more about her views on specific regulatory issues during the confirmation process.”
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed a more skeptical view of the nomination.
“The Trump administration’s nominee to lead the Bureau has an opportunity to be a champion for consumers and not the financial industry. But her apparent lack of experience in consumer finance, coupled with the administration’s hostility to consumer protection, raises questions about her qualifications to lead such an important agency,” she said in a statement.
“The Bureau has extended a vital lifeline to vulnerable Americans, returning nearly $12 billion to 29 million Americans subjected to fraud and abuse of bad actors on Wall Street,” she added. “Yet, in their haste to please their Wall Street donors, Republicans have fought relentlessly to destroy the Bureau, and to drag our nation back to the days when recklessness on Wall Street triggered a financial meltdown, devastating millions of Americans.”
Karl Frisch, executive director of the advocacy group Allied Progress, was similarly blunt in expressing his concerns.
“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by Mick Mulvaney to maintain his grip on the CFPB, so he can continue undermining its important consumer protection mission on behalf of the powerful Wall Street special interests and predatory lenders that have bankrolled his career,” he said. “The White House promised a nominee by last January and Mulvaney says he will stay on until at least the end of the year. They know waiting for the last possible moment to announce a nominee and then selecting someone whose resume of relevant experience is basically nonexistent, buys them more time with Mulvaney at the helm.”
“The Senate should call the White House’s bluff and immediately move to hold confirmation hearings and vote to reject this wholly unqualified candidate. Hell, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is keeping the Senate in town over the August recess to confirm other Trump nominees, what’s one more name to consider? They need to send Mulvaney and the President a message that consumers deserve a champion not a stalking horse,” he added.