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Politics & Money

Biden transition team brings back key CFPB players

Fight for director comes full circle

President-elect Joe Biden is creating transition teams as he prepares for Inauguration Day in January, and there is a very familiar name at the top of the transition team for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Leandra English, the hand-picked successor of former CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision passed (and fought for) by President Donald Trump’s administration, a new CFPB director is widely expected to be one of the early actions Biden will make once in office.

Just before Cordray stepped down in November 2017, he promoted English from chief of staff to deputy director, positioning her to take over as acting director upon Cordray’s departure. But the Trump administration fought back against Cordray’s choice and installed former Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.

That set off a legal battle over who was really in charge of the CFPB, and U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sided with Trump, handing control of the bureau to Mulvaney. English didn’t stop there, and took her case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which in early 2018, agreed to hear her case on an expedited basis.

But once Trump tapped Kathy Kraninger to serve as Cordray’s permanent replacement as CFPB director, English ended her fight over who’s truly in charge of the CFPB and left the agency altogether.


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Now, that fight has come full circle as Biden sets up English as the head of his CFPB transition team, and will likely call on her as the next leader of the agency.  

Other members of the CFPB transition team include: Manny Alvarez of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation; Bill Bynum of Hope Enterprise Corp.; David Mayorga of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; Josh Nassar of The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers; Brian Shearer of Justice Catalyst Law; Diane Thompson who was self-employed; and Ashwin Vasan of Sophant Consulting.

Biden’s transition team also reveals a likely candidate to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He set up Urban Institute’s Erika Poethig as team lead of the HUD transition team.

Poethig has extensive experience in the housing industry and in Washington working to promote affordable housing issues.

As vice president and chief innovation officer at the Urban Institute, Poethig leads the Research to Action Lab, which is an innovation hub serving decision makers and creative thinkers eager to effect social change.

Before joining Urban, Poethig was acting assistant secretary for policy, development, and research at HUD. She also spent time in President Barack Obama’s administration, where she was deputy assistant secretary for policy development and was a leading architect of the White House Council for Strong Cities and Strong Communities. As associate director for housing at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, she developed grant-making strategies focused on rental housing policy and research and research on how housing matters.

In the 1990s, she was assistant commissioner for policy, resource, and program development at the City of Chicago’s Department of Housing and developed Mayor Richard Daley’s campaign to combat predatory lending, prevent foreclosures and stabilize communities. Previously, she was associate project director of the Metropolis Project, which produced the Metropolis 2020 agenda for regional leadership around the major issues faced by Chicago. Poethig serves on the boards of the Low Income Investment Fund, Mercy Housing and the College of Wooster.

Other members of the HUD transition team include: Alejandro Avilés of UnidosUS; Peggy Bailey of the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities; Adria Crutchfield of Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership; Julia Gordon of the National Community Stabilization Trust; Solomon Greene of the Urban Institute; Aras Jizan of Community Solutions; Monique King-Viehland of the Urban Institute; Becky Koepnick of the State of New York, Homes and Community Renewal; Gail Winifer Laster retired from the National Credit Union Administration; Meaghan McCarthy of Housing Partnership Network; Gina Metrakas of New York University, Furman Center; Noel Poyo of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders; Antonio Riley who was self-employed; Margaret Salazar of the State of Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services; Karen Tamley of Access Living; and Ben Winter of the California Community Foundation.

The Biden team also appointed Don Graves, KeyBank senior vice president of corporate responsibility and community relations, as head of the transition team for the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Atlas Research Senior Director Meg Kabat as head of the transition team for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Gary Gensler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of the practice of global economics and management, as head of the transition team for Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators.

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