WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kathy Kraninger, current associate director for general government at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing on Urban Affairs to lead the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) by a narrow 13-12 vote.
Thursday’s vote sends President Donald Trump’s pick to head the bureau to the full Senate, which has yet to schedule a confirmation vote. If confirmed, Kraninger, who has been criticized for her lack of experience in consumer financial protection but lauded as a free-market ally in discussions about the BCFP-creating Dodd-Frank Act, would replace her boss at the OMB, Mick Mulvaney, as the bureau’s acting director.
“At her hearing, Ms. Kraninger reiterated her dedication to fulfilling the bureau’s congressional mandate, ensuring all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services that are fair, transparent, and competitive,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who chairs the committee. “Given her depth and diversity of public service experience, I have the utmost confidence that she is well prepared to lead the bureau in enforcing federal consumer financial laws, protecting consumers’ sensitive personal financial information, expanding access to credit, and making the bureau more transparent and accountable.”
Kraninger, who previously worked for the Department of Transportation and was an early hire at the Department of Homeland Security, has never held public office or run a major government office or federal agency. She joined the Trump administration from the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and has served as an aide for several Senate panels.
In her role at the OMB, Kraninger helps draft budgets for seven cabinet departments and 30 government agencies totaling $250 million. That includes budgets for all financial regulators, including the CFPB.
In written testimony submitted at her July 29 nomination hearing, Kraninger emphasized that “the bureau should be fair and transparent, ensuring its actions empower consumers to make good choices and provide certainty for market participants” — goals that struck a positive chord with the financial services industry.
“The American Financial Services Association supports the Senate Banking Committee’s approval of the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as the next director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and is pleased to see her nomination pass the Banking Committee,” said Chris Stinebert, the association’s president and CEO, in a statement issued to F&I and Showroom shortly after today’s vote.
“We urge the full Senate to confirm her nomination,” he added.
Kraninger’s lack of experience, however, continued to draw criticism up until the vote, with detractors speculating that her nomination is simply a way to keep Mulvaney connected to an agency he’s worked to rein in since his appointment as acting director on Nov. 24, 2017 — the day Richard Cordray formally resigned as head of the bureau.
Kraninger has also faced questions about her role in other actions taken by the Trump administration, including its policy of separating children from their parents crossing the border and its response to the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico. Also mentioned prior to the vote were reports that Mulvaney plans to suspend examinations of lenders for compliance with the Military Lending Act.
“We created the Consumer Protection Bureau to fight for average Americans, and stand up for the people we serve,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. “If there was any doubt at how important this agency is — and how damaging it can be in the wrong hands — we don’t have to look any further than Mr. Mulvaney’s outrageous actions last week, announcing that the Consumer Protection Bureau is no longer going after shady lenders that cheat our servicemembers.
“Ms. Kraninger has not spoken up and said she’ll defend our troops from payday lenders that prey on them, which speaks volumes,” he continued. “Instead we get, “I cannot identify any actions that Acting Director Mulvaney has taken with which I disagree.”