At the request of President Joe Biden, Kathleen Kraninger resigned as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday, effective immediately. The move paves the way for her to be replaced by Rohit Chopra, once he is confirmed by the Senate.
Kraninger helmed the CFPB for 25 months, taking over for acting director Mick Mulvaney, who was installed following the resignation of Richard Cordray. Kraninger had no experience in consumer protection or finance when she took the job — she was an associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget when she was nominated — but received praise for her efforts. It was during her tenure that the agency finally released the long-awaited debt collection rule, while also ramping up enforcement activity. Her decisions were far less jaw-dropping than those of Mulvaney, but her commitment to following the letter of the law irked Democrats and consumer advocates who wanted a director that was more aggressive in uncovering and punishing bad actors in the financial services industry. During Kraninger’s term, the CFPB collected about $1.5 billion in consumer relief, compared with the $12 billion that was collected when Cordray was director.
“It has been an honor to serve the American people for over 20 years, and my privilege to do so alongside the many career and political civil servants who put country over self,” Kraninger said in her resignation letter, which she tweeted yesterday, shortly after President Biden was inaugurated. “In addition to our important mission work, I hope that my legacy will be the maturation of the CFPB itself and its role within the financial services regulatory framework.”
Kraninger touted the accomplishments of the CFPB during her time running the agency. She was sworn in to a five-year term in December 2018, but the Supreme Court’s ruling in Seila Law v. CFPB altered the leadership structure of the agency, allowing the president to fire the director for any reason, not just for cause. By starting her resignation letter with, “as requested,” Kraninger made it clear that she was resigning rather than choosing to be fired by President Biden. “I support the Constitutional prerogative of the President to appoint senior officials within the government who support the President’s policy priorities, which ensures our government is responsive to the will of the people as expressed in presidential elections,” she wrote.
It is perhaps an indication of her tenure that she chose to highlight the CFPB’s educational efforts first in her resignation letter, touting the number of blog posts and videos that were accessed by consumers. The CFPB’s enforcement activities were the last area that Kraninger mentioned in her letter.