President Trump formally nominated Kathy Kraninger to succeed Mick Mulvaney as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday as the industry scrambles to learn more about her limited financial services background and what her stance may be on key auto finance issues moving forward.
In her current role as Associate Director with the Office of Management and Budget, Kraninger oversees $250 billion in budget development for the Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of the Treasury — a role she’s been held since March 2017. Kraninger’s background includes positions with the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Kraninger does not have a track record on financial policy, Politico reported.
Despite where her expertise lie, “there’s nothing unique about the financial services industry that someone who’s succeeded in other industries can’t navigate,” one person who worked with Kraninger said, according to The Hill. “It hasn’t been her whole career, but it has been a part of her most recent and most important job.”
Until the Senate confirms the nominee — a timeline that could last up to 120 days — Mulvaney will continue serving as acting director. Should Kraninger drop out of the running or be rejected in a vote Mulvaney is eligible to serve in the role for another 210 days, and then through another 120 day nomination process. If that were to happen he’ll have headed up the bureau for two years.
Kraninger’s nomination, therefore, could be a move to keep Mulvaney at the helm, one attorney told Auto Finance News. A number of other consumer advocacy groups were quick to criticize this approach.
No matter the reason behind the nomination, critics are not holding back. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ranking Member on the Senate Banking Committee, said working families need a leader who will fight for them.
“For months I have called for a CFPB Director with a track record of holding Wall Street and payday lenders accountable,” Brown said in a statement. “The White House should pick an experienced, serious, independent leader.”
Additionally, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said that Kraninger’s “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.”
Despite critics claiming her background isn’t extensive enough, Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers of America, said Kraninger is “an experienced manager, has the necessary budgetary knowledge, and can serve as a steady hand shepherding the Bureau.”
Calling Kraninger a “staunch supporter of free enterprise,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement that the White House hopes for a swift confirmation — claiming Kraninger will bring a “fresh perspective” and “much-needed management experience to the [Bureau],” according to the statement.
In response to the nomination, Competitive Enterprise Insitute Senior Fellow John Berlau urged the Senate to prepare some pointed questions about the bureau’s future, specifically how CFPB red tape is harming consumers, entrepreneurs, main street banks, credit unions, and Kraninger’s views on the scope and limits of the bureau’s power.
“At the same time, Congress must do its part to rein in the unchecked power of the [the Bueau] by making the director removable by the president and subject to Congressional appropriations,” Berlau said.