The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly CFPB) has again found itself embroiled in controversy, with President Donald Trump announcing his plan to nominate Kathy Kraninger to lead the organization and replace Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. Kraninger is currently Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where Mulvaney also serves as Director, and is widely considered to be his protégé. The announcement comes one week before Mulvaney’s interim term at the BCFP is to end, although he has said he expects to stay on until the end of the year because of the slow pace of senate confirmations.
The confirmation process is expected to be contentious, with critics arguing that Kraninger brings no track record on financial policy and is merely an extension of Mulvaney and his policies. While Mulvaney has only led the BCFP for six months, he has drawn criticism from consumer advocates and Democrats for rolling back rules and dismissing cases against financial institutions.
Those in support of Kraninger argue that her experience at OMB alongside Mulvaney would serve her well in this important position. In her current role, Kraninger oversees $250 billion in federal spending for several Cabinet departments and 30 federal agencies, including the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the White House.
There is no doubt that this will be a contentious nomination as the CFPB aggressively regulated banks and lenders under former director Richard Cordray and has undergone a significant change in enforcement priorities under Mulvaney. If confirmed, Kraninger would wield extensive power to police the financial services industry and lead a polarizing agency that has been the center of controversy and debate.
* Ali Najaf contributed to this post.