Holding U.S. Consumer Watchdog Accountable for Inaction
On October 16, 2019, during a Financial Services Committee hearing, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) grilled President Trump’s hand-picked Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Kathy Kraninger, on the administration’s enforcement of financial anti-discrimination laws and questioned its dedication to putting consumers first.
“Under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s short time running, or maybe I should say ‘gutting,’ the CFPB, the administration stripped the agency’s fair-lending office of its enforcement powers,” Beatty said. “Members of Congress and consumer advocacy groups were outraged, and according to your written testimony those concerns were justified. Yet, under your leadership, Director Kraninger, the Bureau did not launch or complete any fair-lending enforcement actions.” Beatty continued, “Has fair-lending been de-emphasized or is this the first time in history that there has been no discrimination in the last six months?”
Beatty’s headline-making questioning appeared to catch the Trump-appointee off guard. Fumbling, Kraninger said that the lack of reporting “is not a measure of discrimination happening.” To that, Beatty shot back, “So, there was discrimination, but you just did not deal with it?”
Due to time constraints, Beatty then turned her attention to calling out Kraninger for the Bureau’s seemingly lack of concern for the number one complaint of Ohio consumers: debt collection. Since the CFPB began compiling data, nearly 16,000 Ohioans have lodged complaints about overly aggressive debt collection—with one-third of those complaints being on ‘debt not owed.’
In response, Beatty challenged Kraninger to improve the CFPB’s new debt collection rule so that American families are not needlessly hassled, and their personal, professional, and financial lives turned upside down, because of a preventable clerical error. Kraninger later admitted that the Bureau has not and does not plan to address this troubling practice.
To watch Beatty’s full line of questioning, please visit her official YouTube page.