U.S. consumer watchdog bureau gets new chief of staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top staffer for one of the most vocal U.S. congressional critics of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was named on Friday as the watchdog’s chief of staff as it undergoes a major transformation under the Trump administration.

Kirsten Sutton Mork, former staff director for the House Financial Services Committee, will assume the role “in the coming weeks,” Representative Jeb Hensarling, who chairs that panel, said in a statement. He is one of the CFPB’s most vociferous critics.

The position was last filled by Leandra English, who is now the agency’s deputy director. English had been a top deputy of former Director Richard Cordray, who resigned in November and contended English should take over the agency. She sued the administration in November, claiming that Cordray had legal grounds to name his successor until a full-time director was named by Trump and confirmed by the Senate.

Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director who is CFPB acting director, has vowed to move the agency away from its agenda under President Barack Obama.

The financial industry has long complained the CFPB was too aggressive in its rulewriting and enforcement, and that its single director enjoyed too much power. But consumer advocates have called it a critical safeguard for Americans.

Also on Friday, Hensarling said that Shannon McGahn would return to the Financial Services Committee to fill the staff director role. McGahn most recently was a top advisor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Richard Chang