WASHINGTON, D.C. – During Kathy Kraninger’s job interview to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she made a solemn promise to those concerned about her lack of experience in financial regulation: “Under my stewardship, the bureau will take aggressive action against bad actors who break the rules by engaging in fraud and other illegal activity.”As Director Kraninger reaches her 100th day on the job, it’s clear she never had any intention of keeping it. In a new report, ‘100 Days of Failing Consumers’, consumer advocacy group Allied Progress is taking a look back at how Kraninger has actually made things worse by taking steps to make it easier for big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers to rip off, deceive and exploit consumers. Allied Progress also launched a new digital ad called ‘Do Your Job’ featuring some of Kraninger’s most uncomfortable moments during her recent congressional appearances and urges her to stop letting Trump’s big donor friends do whatever they want and start doing her job protecting consumers.
“Considering CFPB enforcement actions plummeted 80 percent in 2018 compared to the year before Trump was elected, protecting consumers has clearly not been a priority for the Trump administration – and Director Kraninger is doing nothing to change that.Rather than correct course, Kraninger is somehow managing to recover even less money on behalf of cheated consumers than her predecessor Mick Mulvaney who could not have cared less. That’s pathetic,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Allied Progress. “Kraninger’s first 100 days have been indistinguishable from any day of Mulvaney’s disgraceful tenure trying to cripple the agency from within. It says it all that Kraninger’s first major action as director was proposing to tear up the rule keeping predatory lenders from authorizing their abusive 400 percent interest loans to people who won’t be able to pay them back in time — a move that even she admits will make Trump’s payday lender donor friends $7 billion a year richer on the backs of the most vulnerable consumers.”
Kraninger wasn’t kidding when she said there’s nothing her predecessor Mick Mulvaney did that she disagrees with. During her congressional hearings, Kraninger offered nothing but excuses and distractions about why she hasn’t performed her basic duties as Director. She’s made no serious effort to fill critical supervision and exam positions which Mulvaney let plummet by one-third, conveniently only getting around to posting the student loan ombudsman position the day before her House hearing — six months after it was vacated. She struggled to cite numbers of CFPB enforcement actions and lawsuits filed on her watch against big banks, student lenders and payday loan sharks caught discriminating against or defrauding consumers, even when the answer was zero. She ducked a simple ‘yes or no’ question whether she will continue offering the “Mulvaney Discount”, the practice of letting companies caught engaging in rampant consumer abuse or discrimination off the hook with a $1 fine. When asked, she declined to read aloud racist writings from the political appointee charged with enforcing fair lending policy, and yet she still hasn’t condemned Eric Blankenstein’s views, let alone fired him. She falsely claimed she has no authority to conduct examinations of military lenders who often fleece our servicemembers, claiming she knows the law better than 33 attorneys general who confirmed she has the authority. But most alarming of all, Kraninger refused to state unequivocally whether she believed the CFPB should exist at all.
Added Funk: “Instead of asking herself ‘What would Mulvaney do?’ before each decision, Director Kraninger should start looking at what the law says she should be doing to protect consumers. Instead of making excuses for why nothing is getting done, she should restore CFPB staff to 2016 levels when the agency was successfully recovering billions of dollars for millions of consumers victimized by illegal business practices. That’s a good place to start when she’s ready to start doing her job.”
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