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FEATURING HELAINE OLEN – On Thursday Kathy Kraninger, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau faced a contentious hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee. The mid-level bureaucrat, who has no discernible experience in consumer affairs or finance, was grilled by the Democrats on the committee.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in particular – who led the fight to create the agency – questioned Kraninger about her involvement with the Trump Administration’s family separation policies in her current position. Alabama Senator Doug Jones questioned her on whether she would address racial discrimination in lending.

There are many questions about whether Kraninger is qualified to lead the agency. Even the conservative National Review called her “the wrong choice to lead the CFPB,” and opined, “Law students currently doing summer clerkships at the CFPB will have more experience with consumer-credit regulation than the nominee to lead the bureau.”

But perhaps this is by design. Acting CFPB head Mick Mulvaney and President Trump have not hidden their desire to gut the main government agency ensuring ordinary Americans are protected from predatory practices by banks and other lenders.

Helaine Olen is a blogger for the Washington Post’s Plum Line and the Nation. She’s the author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry.

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