On November 15, as has been widely reported, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, announced by email to his staff that he would be resigning at the end of the month. While he did not state the reason for his departure, it is believed that Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, intends to run for governor of that state.
Cordray was a holdover from the Obama administration, appointed in July 2013 for a five-year term slated to end in July 2018. Since its formation in 2011, the CFPB has been criticized for a structure that centralizes power in the hands of a single director – a radical departure from other independent federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, which is led by a bi-partisan panel of five Commissioners. Furthermore, the CFPB is different from many other agencies in that the President can only fire the director “for cause,” engendering a lawsuit still working its way through the courts. Since President Trump’s election, there have been rumors that Cordray may be fired, although questions about the President’s ability to do so may have prevented this action.
As of November 17, President Trump is expected to announce that Mick Mulvaney, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will serve as CFPB Acting Director. As for a permanent replacement for Cordray, there is a significant possibility that the President will chose someone from the ranks of Republican attorneys general, many of whom have taken issue with the highly-aggressive role developed at the CFPB under Cordray.