Biden appoints US consumer watchdog veteran as interim director after Trump appointee resigns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House has announced that President Joe Biden will appoint Dave Uejio to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on an interim basis after its director, Kathy Kraninger, resigned at the request of the new administration.

Uejio, whose appointment was announced late Wednesday, will lead the oversight agency pending Senate confirmation of Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra as permanent director.

Uejio is a nine-year veteran of the CFPB and was most recently its chief strategy officer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Kraninger, who was nominated by Republican President Donald Trump, tweeted that she was stepping down shortly after Biden was sworn in on Wednesday. His term was due to end in 2023.

Last year, however, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a challenge, backed by the Trump administration and long-backed by most Republicans, which argued that the CFPB director was serving under the will of the president.

Biden’s transition team made it clear on Monday that his White House was willing to test this newfound power if Kraninger did not step down when it announced he planned to appoint Chopra to replace her.

“I support the President’s constitutional prerogative to appoint senior government officials who support the President’s policy priorities, which ensures that our government responds to the will of the people,” Kraninger wrote in his resignation letter.

The CFPB has been a political lightning rod since its inception in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis, loved by Democrats as a guardian of ordinary Americans but reviled by Republicans as too powerful and irresponsible.

Consumer groups have sharply criticized Kraninger for disfiguring the agency by easing enforcement and loosening rules on payday loans, mortgages and debt collection.

On Wednesday, Kraninger appeared to refute those criticisms, writing that she had been “focused on implementing common sense solutions to complex problems and creating real value for the American people.”

Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Jonathan Oatis