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Battle lines emerging over Trump’s nominee to lead consumer bureau

June 18, 2018 GMT

The White House said President Trump’s nominee to lead a government consumer-protection agency will pursue reforms initiated by administration budget director Mick Mulvaney a prospect that has drawn criticism from advocacy groups.

The president’s nomination of Kathy Kraninger to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will “continue the reforms of the bureau initiated by acting Director Mick Mulvaney and ensure the consumers and markets are not harmed by fraudulent actors.”

Ms. Kraninger currently serves as an associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget under Mr. Mulvaney, who is leading the CFPB on an interim basis. The CFPB was criticized under President Obama for running amok with regulations and fines on the consumer lending industry; Mr. Mulvaney has sought to roll back the agency’s broad use of power since taking over late last year.

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The Consumers Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt said Ms. Kraninger “is an experienced manager, has the necessary budgetary knowledge, and can serve as a steady hand shepherding the bureau.”

“The bureau has been a political pawn for too long,” he said. “We look forward to hearing her views on consumer protection during confirmation hearings. CBA continues to support a bipartisan commission to provide a diverse set of opinions, wide range of experience and ensure everyone has a seat at the table when key bureau policies are being crafted.”

The advocacy group Public Citizen said Monday that Ms. Kraninger’s nomination signals that “Mick Mulvaney wants to continue to pull the strings at the CFPB.”

“In little more than six months of his improper leadership at the agency, Mulvaney has shut down enforcement, rolled back rules and demoralized staff all to benefit big banks and predatory lenders,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen. “If Kraninger is confirmed, we should expect more of the same. The American people deserve better.”

Her nomination must be approved by the Senate.