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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, December 6, 2018

Senate confirms Kraninger nomination by one-vote margin

By Richard A. Roth, J.D.

The nomination of Kathy Kraninger to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 50-to-49 on Dec. 6, 2018. Kraninger will be the second Senate-confirmed CFPB Director, following Richard Cordray. Mick Mulvaney has been serving as Acting Director since Cordray’s resignation.

As the narrow margin for confirmation implies, Kraninger’s nomination was very controversial, with public interest and industry advocacy groups lining up to oppose each other. For example, the Center for Responsible Lending charged that she would "continue [Acting Director] Mulvaney’s destructive course. Kraninger has no track record at all of consumer protection, or of standing up for vulnerable people." During debate, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) complained that "Her one and only qualification is that she will be a rubber stamp for special interests. That is unconscionable" (Banking and Finance Law Daily, Nov. 30, 2018).

Kraninger’s tenure as Program Associate Director at the Office of Management and Budget came in for severe criticism, with Democrats attempting to link her to the separation of families at the U.S. southern border and with what they asserted were inadequate hurricane responses. (Acting CFPB Director Mulvaney also is Director of the OMB).

On the other hand, the Independent Community Bankers of America said that she has "a strong commitment to making the Bureau accountable, effective and efficient."

Post-vote comments. Comparable statements were offered after the Senate vote. American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols said that Kraninger "believes in promoting competition and appropriately tailoring regulations by taking into account both costs and benefits."

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said that "As Congress continues its efforts to reform the Bureau into a law enforcement agency that truly protects consumers and is accountable to the people, I am confident that with her experience and knowledge of budget management, Kathy will excel as Director of the Bureau."

Other comments were less positive. Bartlett Naylor of Public Citizen said "Watch your wallets, protect your purses and batten down your bank accounts. With the confirmation of Kathleen Kraninger, Trump and Senate Republicans are putting Americans at the mercy of predatory lenders and abusive financial firms. Kraninger has absolutely no training or experience relevant to consumer protection."

Companies: American Bankers Association; Center for Responsible Lending; Independent Community Bankers of America; Public Citizen

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