Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency

Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency
© Camille Fine

The former deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who lost a legal battle for control of the agency to the Trump administration, will lead President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE’s preparations to overhaul the powerful financial watchdog. 

Leandra English was named Tuesday as the leader of the Biden transition’s review team for the agency, a move likely to please progressives and advocates for tougher financial rules. Biden is widely expected to replace current CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, a Trump appointee, upon taking office.

English served as the CFPB’s No. 2 from November 2017 through July 2018 after an unsuccessful bid to serve as the agency’s acting director. Her legal battle with the Trump administration became a proxy war between Democrats in favor of strict financial sector regulation and Republicans that sought to rein in the agency.


Former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDennis Kucinich jumps into race to be Cleveland mayor Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies On The Money: IRS to start monthly payments of child tax credit July 15 | One-fourth of Americans took financial hits in 2020: Fed MORE promoted English — then his chief of staff — to be the bureau’s deputy director in November 2017, shortly before resigning from the agency.

The move was intended to leave the CFPB in the hands of a leader who would carry on Cordray’s legacy of tough financial regulations and grueling oversight of banks and lenders. But Trump successfully overrode the CFPB’s line of succession by appointing Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE, then the White House budget director, as acting CFPB chief. 

English sued the Trump administration for control of the CFPB after Mulvaney’s appointment. A judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against English and in favor of Mulvaney's appointment as CFPB director.

English's defeat cleared the way for Mulvaney to gut the CFPB from within. The acting chief eased the CFPB's oversight of banks and lenders, shook up the bureau's internal structure to limit the influence of career employees, reopened the bureau's role on payday lending and put an attorney who had written racist blog posts in charge of weeding out racial discrimination.

English appealed her loss to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which heard arguments in the case in April 2019. She dropped the suit in July after resigning from the CFPB and currently serves as a policy adviser to the New York Department of Financial Services.