CFPB Director Kraninger Shares Vision for the Bureau

Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

On April 17, at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger gave her first public remarks, laying out her vision for the bureau.

She recounted her three-month listening tour, where she met with more than 400 groups of various stakeholders and heard a broad range of views about the bureau, its work, and its future.

The following areas of consensus were noted: 1) The CFPB’s mission and the agency itself are critical to our economy and are not going away; 2) A level playing field among financial services providers is an important goal; 3) Bad actors harm consumers and undermine the integrity of markets, and they should be held accountable; and 4) All stakeholders expressed a strong interest in protecting consumers, though they differ on the best way to accomplish that mutual interest.

The director commented that Congress provided the bureau with tools to carry out its mission. These tools include:

  • 1) Education: Empowering consumers to help themselves, protect their own interests, and choose financial products and services that best fit their needs.
  • 2) Regulation: Ensuring clear rules of the road for financial institutions and non-bank lenders.
  • 3) Supervision: Ensuring a culture of compliance.
  • 4) Enforcement: Deterring unlawful behavior and holding bad actors accountable.

Kraninger believes the best application of these tools is to focus on preventing consumer harm.

Regarding regulations, the director said the bureau should articulate “clear rules of the road for regulated entities that promote competition, increase transparency, and preserve fair markets for financial products and services.” The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have continuously stressed to the bureau the need for tailored regulations that protect consumers and allow a level playing field. We are pleased the director appears to be embracing this approach.

Kraninger also discussed that rules should not be communicated through enforcement actions. “Rather,” she said, “they should be developed through a rulemaking process that is transparent; that allows stakeholders to submit comments; that reflects rigorous economic and market analysis; and that provides for judicial review. Ultimately, I don’t believe anyone benefits from rules that are rushed out the door after having gone through a flawed process. Under my leadership, the CFPB will proceed deliberately and transparently in its rulemakings.”

She said a continued commitment to engagement with stakeholders is a key part of her approach, and the best way to address issues is with proactive dialogue. As part of her approach, the bureau will convene a symposia series over the coming year on a variety of topics. The first topic for the series will be around clarifying the meaning of “abusive” under UDAAP (unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices).

The Leagues look forward to continued engagement with Kraninger as she works to move the bureau forward. Credit unions are also concerned with protecting consumers from harm while ensuring a level playing field through tailored regulations.

For a copy of the director’s speech, click here

For more information on the bureau’s Symposia Series, click here.

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