WASHINGTON — In her first official act as director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Kraninger has informed staff that the agency will no longer seek to enforce a name change initiated by her predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, who left the bureau to serve as White House chief of staff.
“As of December 17, 2018, I have officially halted all ongoing efforts to make changes to existing products and materials related to the name correction initiative,” Kraninger wrote in an email, adding that “we have a legal name but will be using our colloquial name and the branded acronym ‘CFPB.’ Many of us have legal names but use nicknames without much confusion. My birth certificate says Kathleen, but I also answer to Kathy. I think we can do the same here. I believe this decision is most efficient and effective for our continued work together.”
Kraninger was confirmed by Senate vote as the CFPB’s new director on Dec. 6. Mulvaney was appointed acting director by President Donald Trump in November 2017, following the resignation of Richard Cordray. Mulvaney, who would lead a rollback of the CFPB’s jurisdiction over auto finance sources, pledged to change the agency’s name to the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” claiming that was the intent of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that created it.
On the same day Kraninger’s memo was sent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) called for an investigation into the name change in an open letter to Mark Bialek, who serves as inspector general for the CFPB and the Federal Reserve. Citing public records uncovered by The Hill, Warren wanted to know why the change, which was estimated to cost the agency up to $19 million and collectively cost affected finance companies up to $300 million, was undertaken without a cost-benefit analysis.
“The failure to justify the name change, combined with the failure to follow basic procedural rules, the wasteful expenditures, and the confusing implementation suggest a serious breakdown in the policymaking process at the CFPB,” she wrote, in part.