WASHINGTON — A little-known Office of Management and Budget official is President Trump’s leading candidate to become permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

If approved by the Senate, Kathy Kraninger would succeed her boss, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who has been leading the bureau part time since November. The confirmation process could take months and Mulvaney has said he expects to be at the bureau until the end of the year.

Kraninger, an associate director at OMB, previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security and the Senate Appropriations Committee. She would inherit an agency that has been roiled by a shift to Republican leadership under Mulvaney from its roots as a scourge of financial firms under Obama administration appointee Richard Cordray, a Democrat who is running for governor of Ohio.

The potential selection of Kraninger, which could be announced next week, is likely to raise concerns among Democrats, especially because of the lack of financial policy expertise in her background.

While the White House would not confirm that Kraninger will be the nominee, it has said that the administration was seeking somebody with government management experience, including on budget issues.

The Office of Management and Budget didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Mulvaney has been praised by Republican lawmakers for reining in an agency they saw as unaccountable, while liberals led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have accused him of dismantling the bureau and putting consumers at risk.

The acting director has conducted a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s enforcement, supervisory, and rulemaking functions. He’s frozen data collection in the name of security, dropped enforcement cases, and directed staff to cut next year’s budget.

The While House has been working for months to determine who should be named director, a job that will require navigating one of the most politically divisive agencies in Washington.

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