CFPB Will Not Proceed With Name Change, Says Kraninger

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will halt efforts made by the agency’s previous director to change its name to match the original designation it was given in 2010’s Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This is according to an email sent by new CFPB director Kathleen L. Kraninger to agency employees on Wednesday.

According to the email obtained by The Hill, Kraninger cited mounting costs and confusion as two primary reasons not to proceed with the name change, an effort that began under her predecessor and incoming Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney last March. Mulvaney’s aim was to reportedly align the agency’s name with the one given in Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection” (BCFP).

“I care much more about what we do than what we are called,” Kraninger reportedly told CFPB staffers in the email. “While I certainly understand why [Acting Director Mulvaney] emphasized following the letter of the law, I also understand that there are a variety of issues to take into consideration.”

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Kraninger also revealed that official government documentation will contain the name preferred by Mulvaney along with a new seal, which will be used in official reports and other items that are specific to the office of the agency’s director. All public-facing materials, however, will maintain the use of the CFPB name and branding.

“We have a legal name but will be using our colloquial name and the branded acronym ‘CFPB.’ Many of us have legal names but use nicknames without much confusion,” Kraninger explained, going on to cite her use of the name “Kathy” as opposed to her legal name of “Kathleen.”

Critics of the name change offered that it was instituted by Mulvaney in the first place in an attempt to emphasize its bureaucratic nature over its emphasis on consumers. The name change has also been the subject of scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who recently vowed to investigate the name-changing initiative which she called “wasteful” and “harmful.”

“The failure to justify the name change, combined with the failure to follow basic procedural rules, the wasteful expenditures, and the confusing implementation suggest a serious breakdown in the policy-making process at the CFPB,” wrote Senator Warren in her letter to CFPB Inspector General Mark Bialek to encourage an investigation.

Public reports cited by Warren in her letter also estimated the cost of implementing a CFPB name change at between “$9 million and $19 million and would also cost banks, lenders and other financial services firms subject to CFPB supervision roughly $300 million total,” as noted by the letter’s accompanying press release.

Written by Chris Clow