Kraninger Lets Industry “Drive the Agenda” at CFPB Even During COVID-19 Pandemic
Full report here.
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 priorities are indeed all too similar, and that has proved true even during the COVID-19 pandemic and massive economic distress it has produced.
After the Senate confirmed Kraninger on a party-line vote, she 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. In the first phase of its existence the CFPB was an effective enforcer, winning more than $12 billion in relief for consumers. Kraninger’s CFPB eased up on prosecuting wrongdoing and companies are paying less restitution. Instead of writing new rules to address serious problems, the bureau under her leadership devoted resources to rolling back protections, and opening new avenues for consumer abuse
Then came the COVID-19 crisis. Kraninger did worse than miss the opportunity to use the CFPB’s unique toolset to help people. She fell back on the industry-friendly canard that if regulators give companies flexibility, they will do right by consumers. This stance was not only wrong and harmed people; it runs contrary to what Congress intended when it created the agency a decade ago.
The CFPB was set up because the financial crisis made devastatingly clear that without effective regulation, Wall Street will abuse individual consumers, and threaten financial stability for everyone. The CFPB’s mission is to advocate for consumers by vigorously enforcing federal consumer protection laws and ensuring access to fair, competitive, and transparent markets.