CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger is running a agency that Republicans never wanted in the first place….
Most Democrats feel she was sent to pick up the pieces that Mic Mulveany left on the floor after his bruising fight that pushed out the Obama choice to lead the agency and erase the effectiveness of it….
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog bureau set up after the global financial crisis, has been “damaged” under the Trump administration, key Democrats said during a contentious committee hearing Thursday.
Over the past year, the CFPB has stripped its Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity of enforcement powers, handed down fewer fines and proposed a major rollback of rules reining in payday lenders. That has weakened the bureau, said Rep. Maxine Waters(D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
Republicans and the Trump administration have “undertaken a sustained effort to destroy the agency,” she said. “I’m deeply concerned about the damage they have done.”
CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, making her first appearance before the committee since taking office in December, defended her leadership but refused to directly answer many questions about how she would handle specific issues. “I am starting to think around a philosophy of focusing on the prevention of harm,” Kraninger said. “We have tremendous tools and power to drive to that end. There are certainly institutions that are also motivated to support their customers and consumers to prevent harm.”
Lawmakers repeatedly asked Kraninger to disavow actions taken by her predecessor, former acting director Mick Mulvaney, for whom Kraninger previously worked at the Office of Management and Budget. Kraninger refused but said she was not being pressured by either Mulvaney or President Trump. “The decisions I make at the bureau are my decisions,” she said.
Addressing concerns the bureau was no longer being proactive, Kraninger said it may propose rules to address bank overdraft fees and is looking for a new ombudsman to safeguard student borrowers. The former ombudsman, Seth Frotman, resigned last August in protest, claiming the Trump administration was siding with predatory lenders over consumers. Democrats have been critical of how long the CFPB left the position vacant…..