Senator Sherrod Brown slams consumer agency chief Kathy Kraninger for canceling payday loans and racial comments from subordinates

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WASHINGTON, DC – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and other Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday accused the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Kraninger, of abandoning the agency’s mission in favor of consumers by removing restrictions on payday lenders.

“Director Kraninger wants us to believe that an endless cycle of debt is a boon for hard-working families,” Brown said of the CFPB’s proposed drop of a regulation that would force lenders out. salary to be determined in advance if low-income borrowers could afford the terms of the small loans they were getting with the income from their next paychecks.

Last month, the bureau suggested the rule should be repealed as it would reduce consumers’ access to credit, and there isn’t enough evidence to justify it. It takes public comments on the change for 90 days.

Federal change in payday loan restrictions won’t undermine Ohio law

Brown and other Democrats on the committee strongly defended the settlement with Kraninger on Tuesday.

Brown argued that payday lenders like Ace Cash Express aim to trap customers in a cycle of debt by giving them high-interest loans they can’t pay off and refinancing them repeatedly. Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen echoed Brown’s criticism, noting that payday lenders could pocket more than $ 7.3 billion more each year if the restriction is removed.

Kraninger – a Chagrin Falls native who was an intern at Brown’s congressional office – told Brown that she would like to see “a wide variety of products available to consumers, and they can make the best decision possible for themselves.” . She said the rule was being challenged in court and her agency was reviewing all comments before deciding to overturn it.

Brown also criticized Kraninger for continuing to employ a man who “used to write racist statements on his blog.” The employee, Eric Blankenstein, is responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

As a 2004 University of Virginia law student, Blankenstein argued online that “hate crime hoaxes are about three times as common as actual hate crimes” and anyone who uses the “n -word ”should not be called racist, according to The Washington Post. In 2016, he argued online that it was not racist to question whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

“Replace President Obama’s Kenyan legacy with Swedish (and for fun change his name to Sven Laarson), but he occupies the exact same positions, says the exact same things, and so on. If Trump were to claim that President Laarson was in fact born in Malmö, you wouldn’t call that racist, would you? He wrote, according to a New York Times report. “Help me understand why questioning President Obama’s birthplace is racist. “

The Post reported that Blankenstein had apologized by email to his colleagues for using “intentionally provocative language” in previous blog posts.

“Poor judgment in my choice of words at the time, or the way I framed my arguments, did not make me a racist or a sexist, and I have always rejected racism and sexism in the terms as strong as possible, ”Blankenstein said in the email.

Brown noted that black homebuyers are denied mortgages twice as often as white homebuyers, and said it was inappropriate for someone with “those attitudes” to be in control.

“When you took over, I asked you to take it off,” Brown said.

Kraninger responded that Blankenship’s statements were under investigation by the CFPB Inspector General.

“Senator, I believe in due process and I certainly think due process should be followed in this case,” Kraninger said.

“This is not due process in terms of the court,” said Brown, the committee’s top Democrat. “He’s someone who proudly uttered racist statement after racist statement after racist statement and you chose to keep him in a job to enforce anti-discrimination laws.”

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