Names Circulating for Biden’s CFPB, as NCUA Board Membership Remains Uncertain

The adage that “Personnel Equals Policy,” may be overused, but it is likely to be accurate, as President-elect Joe Biden selects a new CFPB director and eventually NCUA board members after taking office.

The NCUA board has several moving pieces. No more than two members of the board may belong to the president’s political party. President Trump has nominated Senate aide Kyle Hauptman, a Republican, to replace current board member J. Mark McWatters, whose term has expired.

However, the Senate has not confirmed Hauptman. If the Senate confirms Hauptman, then there will be two Republican board members even after Trump takes office.

However, the new president could select board member Todd Harper, a Democrat, as chairman. That would leave a Democratic chairman and two Republican board members.

If Hauptman is not confirmed by the end of the year, Biden could choose a Democrat for that seat.

Harper’s term is set to expire on April 10. The term of the other board member, Rodney Hood, the current chairman, expires on Aug. 2, 2023.

The selection of a new CFPB director is much more straightforward. Critics of the agency say that Director Kathy Kraninger has tilted agency enforcement and supervision too much in favor of business, leaving consumers unprotected.

There is little question that Biden will replace Kraninger and there are several names that are appearing on lists circulating among lobbyists and advocates. A new director would require Senate confirmation, but Biden could appoint someone as acting director until then.

Those names include:

  • Richard Cordray—Cordray served as CFPB Director after the agency was created as part of Dodd-Frank. An appointee of then-President Obama, Cordray left in 2017 to run for governor of his home state of Ohio. He lost that race and has been a critic of the CFPB under President Trump.
  • Rohit Chopra—A member of the Federal Trade Commission, Chopra has called for increased penalties for companies that hurt consumers. He is a former assistant director of the CFPB and helped launch the agency after it was created.
  • Patrice Ficklin—Ficklin has served as chief of the CFPB’s fair lending division since 2011.
  • Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.)—At Harvard University’s law school, Porter was a student of Elizabeth Warren’s. In 2012, then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to be the state’s independent monitor of a nationwide $25 billion mortgage crisis settlement.
  • Adam Levitin—A professor at Georgetown University’s law school Levitin was a member of the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board, as well as special counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
  • Bharat Ramamurti— Ramamurti served as banking and economic policy aide to Warren and then joined her presidential campaign. In April, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appointed him to the Congressional Oversight Commission, which is monitoring the economic bailout from the coronavirus crisis.
  • Deepak Gupta—A private attorney who is well known for representing consumers, Gupta was senior counsel for litigation and senior counsel for enforcement strategy at the CFPB.

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