Under Her Leadership, The CFPB Has Failed to Protect Consumers and guarantee fair lending
Washington, DC – Over the course of two days, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Kraninger, is testifying before both the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees.
“Director Kraninger has spent the last year turning her back on consumers while doing the bidding of payday lenders, debt collectors and other players in finance,” says Linda Jun, senior policy counsel for Americans for Financial Reform. “Under her leadership, the bureau has repeatedly used its authority to undermine critical consumer protections, and enforcement actions by this bureau have dramatically decreased. This current CFPB has demonstrated little interest in standing up for consumers.”
These are the top questions on fair lending that Director Kraninger must answer as she testifies:
- You suddenly decided not to defend the structure of CFPB in court. What reasoning led you to completely change course on the constitutionality of the CFPB’s structure?
- In the face of the student debt crisis, you took 9 months to fill the Student Loan Ombudsman role, and have let Betsy DeVos get away with stonewalling the Bureau's attempt to oversee failures at servicers. What are you going to do to step up efforts to deal with the student debt crisis?
- In May, Tom Pahl, a senior CFPB official, admitted that the bureau had no new evidence demonstrating that key portions of the payday rule should. So why did the bureau propose to do so? Why hasn’t the CFPB requested that the stay on the payment provisions of the rule be lifted?
- With your HMDA rollback proposal, “innovation sandbox” and no-action letters, the CFPB will have less information, not more, to identify problems. How can you know if there is harm or risk to consumers when you are actively letting companies provide less data to the bureau?
- Under the previous leadership, CFPB conducted one study of debt collectors and their vendors, and another on debtor experiences. What evidence led you to propose a rule that allows for more abuse and harassment by debt collectors via text and email and poses greater data privacy risks for consumers?
- After nearly a year leading the bureau, why is the CFPB 15-20 percent understaffed? The inspector general recently found that the bureau lacks the resources to supervise all of the institutions under its jurisdiction. Why hasn’t the CFPB made adequate staffing a priority?
- Why has the CFPB failed to remove problematic officials, such as Eric Blankenstein (who has since left for another job) and Paul Watkins, given the reports they may be creating a hostile work environment for others?
- Dodd-Frank established a designated fair lending office within the CFPB to provide oversight and enforcement of these laws. Acting Director Mulvaney dismantled this office. Although the supervision and enforcement authority of the fair lending office played a crucial role in its effectiveness in addressing fair lending violations, you have not restored the fair lending office’s ability to do its job. Under your leadership, the CFPB has not referred any cases to DOJ for fair lending violations and has taken no substantive enforcement actions. How will CFPB advance crucial efforts to stamp out discrimination in lending?
- How can consumer education be effective if the CFPB does not take measures to reign in predatory actors who try to trick consumers with hidden terms and unaffordable products?
- Under your leadership, restitution for consumers, the amount of civil penalties, and the number of enforcement actions has markedly decreased. How is the CFPB holding bad actors accountable when there are such limited penalties for causing consumer harm?