Trump’s Nomination of Permanent CFPB Director Is Nothing More Than a Shameless Ploy to Continue The Brazen Dismantling of the Nation’s Premier Consumer Protection Agency
In a move designed to attract as little attention as possible, the White House announced Saturday evening that it was nominating a staffer from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Kathy Kraninger, to be the permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As Better Markets’ CEO and President was quoted in the Financial Times:
“The Trump administration continues its relentless deregulation and anti-consumer crusade with its hope-no-one-is-paying-attention Saturday night announcement.”
Lacking any regulatory, financial services or, God forbid, consumer protection experience, Kraninger has been serving as an associate OMB director, working closely with the OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, who has also been serving as the Acting CFPB Director and who has been systematically dismantling consumer protections from within the CFPB as Better Markets has chronicled. Mr. Mulvaney’s appointment as acting Director would have ended on June 22nd if President Trump had not nominated a permanent director. He now gets to serve for as long as it takes to get Kraninger confirmed by the Senate.
Given the circumstances, there are two likely scenarios, both of which will harm consumers. First, Kraninger survives what is likely to be a long and difficult confirmation process to take the helm of the CFPB, but takes her cues from her old boss, Mick Mulvaney. In the second scenario, the confirmation process drags on and on to a point where the Senate adjourns to go home for the mid-term elections, leaving Mulvaney in charge.
But regardless of which scenario comes to fruition, the one thing that sadly will not change is the damage that has been done, is currently being done, and will continue to be done to financial consumers as they are preyed upon by
- unscrupulous payday lenders charging exorbitant interest, or
- student loan servicers failing to process payments on time and charging fraudulent late fees, or
- big banks pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars for bogus fees, charges and billing practices.
Rather than consumer protection, acting Director Mulvaney has declared “open season” for financial predators on financial consumers. He has made it clear that when he has to choose, he chooses the industry’s interests over the interests of consumers. With Trump’s consumer protection bureau, perpetrators are comforted and victims are left on their own to fight gigantic financial institutions and their army of lawyers, lobbyists and political enablers. There is every reason to believe that the grossly unqualified nominee will continue with the same indefensible policies.