Kathleen Kraninger, the current director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told an audience of bankers at a November 2019 industry gathering that “you are really helping drive the agenda.” Unfortunately for the public and for consumer financial protection, the Kraninger agenda and the Wall Street lobby’s agenda are indeed all too similar. Since the Senate confirmed Kraninger on a party-line vote, she has steered the CFPB in an anti-consumer direction, making it easier for Wall Street and predatory lenders to rip people off and to discriminate against people of color.
Consumer advocates and academics criticized the policy, saying the agency was effectively tying its own hands. “It seems that the agency is trying to highly constrict the use of ‘abusive’ by using terms that do not fully capture the way lenders behave,” said Linda Jun, an attorney at the advocacy Americans for Financial Reform.
As Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, put it, last year, the CFPB “was constructed really deliberately to protect ordinary people,” and the Trump administration has “taken it apart — dismantled it, piece by piece, brick by brick.” I [Leandra English] am honored to join DFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell’s team to ensure that as Washington retreats, New York continues to lead.
“The CFPB is dropping the ball on enforcing and drafting federal rules to actually protect the public from rip offs and discrimination in lending,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund. “Creating and hiring a new task force stacked with industry representatives and ideological opponents of regulation is one more move that runs directly counter to the CFPB’s basic mission.”
In The News: This was supposed to be the decade of tougher consumer protections. That didn’t happen. (CNBC)
“The biggest concerns that we see with the CFPB today is they are holding the hands of the payday lenders,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform. “That means that the debt trap will continue and people will continue to lose their cars and their bank accounts as a result of the continued destruction of payday loans.”
Kraninger is wildly unqualified to lead the CFPB: Before her confirmation, she had no experience in consumer protection or financial regulation. Civil rights groups and Wall Street watchdogs [AFR letter linked] uniformly opposed her, while the financial industry supported her—perceiving correctly that she would be, at best, a do-nothing director.
“An effective consumer financial protection agency saves families billions of dollars a year, and makes their economic lives more secure. It fights lending discrimination, and shuts down tricks and traps” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “Unfortunately, the evidence keeps piling up that the current leadership at the agency is focused on rolling back protections and enabling bad financial actors to rip people off. It is so important that members of Congress continue pressing the CFPB to live up to its consumer protection mandate and fulfill its basic responsibilities, as the House has in passing the Consumers First Act today.”
The Proposal—a plainly outcome-driven, 47-page exercise in grasping for straws—has offered no reasonable basis to rescind that Rule. Based on a distorted focus on the Rule’s “dramatic impacts” on lenders’ ability to engage in a predatory practice, rather than on the need to protect consumers, the Proposal claims that the evidence must somehow be “more robust.” If the Rule requires significant changes for payday and vehicle title lenders, it is because the harm to consumers is dramatic. The Bureau’s new approach would ignore its consumer protection mandate and require the agency to hesitate when consumer harm is the most severe.
Congressional Testimony: AFR Senior Policy Counsel Linda Jun Testifies before House Financial Services Committee
On March 7, 2019, AFR Senior Policy Counsel Linda Jun offered testimony at a hearing entitled: “Putting Consumers First: A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” before the House Financial Services Committee.
News Release: Ahead Of Kraninger Hearing, Advocates Demand To Know Why CFPB Is Attacking Consumer Protections
Today, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger is set to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee, marking her first oversight hearing since being narrowly confirmed last December. Kraninger will now have to answer to a new chair, Rep. Maxine Waters, and a majority that is demanding answers to why the agency has sided with the industry over consumers.