In a surprise move, President Trump intends to nominate Kathy Kraninger, an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget as the next CFPB director.
Kraninger is an associate director at OMB and is a key deputy to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, who has been acting director of the agency.
Kraninger’s name has not been among the likely candidates for the CFPB job until recent days. The early list had included NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters.
Kraninger has not worked on consumer financial issues in the past, having been a Senate aide and having worked at the Transportation and Homeland Security departments.
In announcing the president’s plans, a White House spokesperson said Kraninger will continue the policies initiated by Mulvaney.
Kraninger will face a tough confirmation process. Senate Democrats have been livid at Mulvaney’s policies—ranging from his announcement that he intends to revisit the strict payday lending rules issued by his predecessor, Richard Cordray to the possibility that the CFPB’s public complaint database might be taken down.
However, credit union trade groups said that they appreciate the direction the CFPB has taken under Mulvaney.
“Although NAFCU consistently argues that credit unions should not be subject to the CFPB’s enforcement authority, we have had a strong working relationship with Acting Director [Mick] Mulvaney and appreciate him reviewing the bureau’s actions and bringing some regulatory relief to credit unions over the past few months,” said NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger. “We plan to continue this relationship with Ms. Kraninger.”
“Credit unions have faced an unprecedented amount of regulatory burden over the last several years,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We look forward to working with new leadership at the bureau and urge Ms. Kraninger to protect consumers by addressing bad actors in the marketplace, without unnecessarily limiting the ability of credit unions to serve their members.
Consumer advocates wasted no time in attacking the move.
“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,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
Mulvaney would have had to step down from the helm of the CFPB on June 22 if Trump does not nominate a permanent head.
If Trump nominates Kraninger by then, Mulvaney can continue to run the agency during the confirmation process.
However, Mulvaney’s term at the CFPB and Kraninger’s nomination will expire at the end of the year if she is not confirmed by then.