The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be place an emphasis on supervising financial firms rather than relying heavily on enforcement actions to protect consumers, director Kathleen Kraninger said in her first major policy speech.

A focus on supervision and rulemaking will “prevent violations from happening in the first place,” Kraninger said April 17 at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

The prevention emphasis may also lead to a change in how the CFPB evaluates its measures of success,...