Mulvaney: ‘Not involved’ in Kraninger’s selection as successor in leading BCFP

The outgoing, acting director of the federal consumer financial protection agency said Thursday he was not involved in the selection of his successor as permanent director, who was confirmed by the Senate the same day.

However, John (“Mick”) Mulvaney said that – if he had been involved – “I could not have picked somebody better for this job.”

Kathleen (“Kathy”) Kraninger testifies in July before the Senate Banking Committee

Mulvaney, who has served as acting director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB) since late November 2017, was speaking on a conference call with members of the agency’s various advisory councils. He was referring to the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as permanent director of the bureau. Kraninger, confirmed by the Senate on a 50-49 vote along partisan lines, is approved for a five-year term.

Mulvaney implied that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Larry Kudlow “and a small group of people in the administration” took the lead in selecting Kraninger for the job.

As for his involvement, Mulvaney said “people think that I was; I was not.”

In the video, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) announces the confirmation vote, 50-49, of Kathleen “Kathy” Kraninger for a five-year term director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB).

The acting bureau director said others set out to find somebody “extraordinarily capable” and “someone extraordinarily intelligent.” He then started to say someone “extraordinarily immersed,” but paused, and said someone “who wants to immerse in these issues” (referring to issues supervised by the agency).

Kraninger, until Thursday a director in the White House Office of Management and Budget (which Mulvaney also oversees) has no apparent prior experience in either financial institution supervision or consumer protection.

In any event, Mulvaney expressed confidence in Kraninger’s capabilities. “Kathy is going to be an absolute tremendous leader here,” he said.

Mulvaney said he believes the transition from him to Kraninger “will be seamless.” However, whether intended or not, he implied that Kraninger would not be making any changes to the management team that Mulvaney has assembled over the past year at the agency.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to put together a team here of folks who came over with me, and also work with the folks who have been here for several years, to put together a leadership team that I think will continue to be successful under Kathy,” he said.

On the other hand, Mulvaney indicated that Kraninger may have different priorities than he has had at the agency. “So while she has a different style than I do certainly, she’ll have maybe different priorities – I don’t know – the bottom line is I think the transition will be seamless,” he told the groups on the conference call.

Mulvaney also predicted that his participation in the conference call – which brought together the members of the bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), the Community Bank Advisory Council (CUAC), and the Credit Union Advisory Council (CUAC) – “may well be the last thing that I do as the director because Kathy Kraninger is being considered by the Senate as we’re on this phone call.”