New CFPB director reverses efforts to change the agency's name

The new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ended an effort to change the name of the consumer ...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 5:44 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 5:44 AM

The new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ended an effort to change the name of the consumer watchdog agency, telling employees that the change would be too costly to finish.

In an email provided to CNN on Wednesday by an agency spokesperson, newly confirmed director Kathy Kraninger told employees that they could continue referring to the agency by its popular acronym, CFPB, rather than as the less-common "Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection."

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"As of December 17, 2018, I have officially halted all ongoing efforts to make changes to existing products and materials related to the name correction initiative," Kraninger wrote.

The effort to change the agency's name was put in motion last year by then-acting director Mick Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget and was also recently named President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff.

Mulvaney, a former South Carolina Republican congressman who once called the agency a "joke," insisted it should be referred to by the language used in the 2010 Dodd-Frank statute, and even rolled out a new seal in March.

Related: CFPB chief is tired of people calling his agency by the wrong name

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday sent a letter to the agency's inspector general asking for an investigation into the name change.

"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," Warren wrote.

Kraninger wrote in her email that while she understands why Mulvaney "emphasized following the letter of the law, I also understand that there are a variety of issues to take into consideration."

"After being fully briefed on the costs, operational challenges and the effect on stakeholders, I have carefully weighed the options," Kraninger wrote.

She added: "To be clear, I care much more about what we do than what we are called."

According to the email, the agency's formal name will be used for "statutorily required reports, legal filings, and other items specific to the Office of the Director" while the colloquial name and existing logo "will continue to be used for all other materials."

The decision to cut short the name change process was celebrated by consumer watchdog group Allied Progress, which has criticized the government agency in the past.

"Kathy Kraninger was right to fix Mulvaney's name change disaster," Karl Frisch, the executive director of Allied Progress, said in a statement released Wednesday.

"Mick Mulvaney's silly, wasteful, and confusing fight to change the CFPB's name was little more than a petty ploy to undermine the Bureau's hard-won reputation as a champion for consumers," the statement read.

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