CFPB’s Kraninger Announces Advisory Board Changes That Diverge from Mulvaney’s Policies

Inside Subprime: May 1, 2019

By Aubrey Sitler

In the first few months of her tenure as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Kathy Kraninger has dismantled yet another disruptive policy set by her predecessor, Mick Mulvaney.

In March, the CFPB announced a number of changes to CFPB advisory committees, which include:

  • The Consumer Advisory Board (CAB),
  • The Academic Research Council (ARC),
  • The Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC), and
  • The Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC).

Among the changes to each body are an augmented focus to include broader policy matters, an increase in the frequency of meetings, and an extension of membership terms from the current one-year term to two years.

According to the official CFPB announcement, “The enhancements are a result of CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger’s engagement with current and former advisory committee members during her three-month listening tour.”

While these changes represent a marked improvement in making room for the advisory councils to advise the CFPB on policy decisions—as they are congressionally mandated to do as part of the Dodd-Frank Act that established the CFPB—some advocates are still skeptical of the degree to which Kraninger could undermine their effectiveness. Specifically, it is unclear from the recent news whether or not the size of each committee’s membership will increase again. After all, the CAB consisted of 25 members before Mulvaney fired all members and limited its membership to nine.

Only time will tell how well committee membership numbers and members support the CFPB’s mission and congressional mandate, but for now, Kraninger’s willingness to expand even these parts of their purview offers some hope.

“I’ve seen firsthand how the Bureau benefits from the valuable input provided by committee members. I have also seen how the joint committee meeting is resulting in members sharpening their ideas by engaging in a thorough dialogue,” Kraninger said in a statement. “These enhancements demonstrate my commitment to ensuring that the Bureau’s advisory committees are helping to improve our work on behalf of consumers.”

Kraninger’s approach to managing the CFPB and the value she places on the advisory councils could not provide a starker contrast to her predecessor’s. Mulvaney actively tried to eradicate a number of advisory groups (and succeeded in totally gutting one) during his reign as CFPB Acting Director. Kraninger also reversed Mulvaney’s incessant push to change the CFPB’s name—a change that was projected to cost millions of dollars.

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