Nomination for Permanent CFPB Director Could Come in Early 2018


12/1/2017 7:58:00 PM

Reported short list includes U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, law professor Todd Zywicki, and former acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika— all critics of the bureau.

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A lot has changed since Richard Cordray’s Nov. 24 departure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Days after Cordray cleared out his office, his former Chief of Staff Leandra English and President Donald Trump’s interim pick for the job, Mick Mulvaney, showed up to lead the agency. This prompted a lawsuit and quick decision favoring Trump’s man.

With Mulvaney at the helm on an interim basis, the next question is: Who will be the permanent CFPB director?

Politico reports President Trump could choose a nominee in the next couple of weeks from a short list that includes U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee; Todd Zywicki, a law professor at George Mason University; and Keith Noreika, former acting Comptroller of the Currency.

Each of the three is a known critic of the CFPB.

Hensarling is poised for a new position as we he will not seek reelection due to committee leadership term limits. He sponsored H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, which changes the CFPB’s leadership structure, and requires congressional oversight and funding through the appropriations process. H.R. 10 was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year.

When asked his thoughts on the future of the CFPB and its consumer protection functions in a Nov. 30 interview with NPR, Hensarling said, “Well, we had consumer protection laws on the books that preceded the CFPB. We can have a debate on who is—can best enforce these. Frankly, I do like the idea that we centralize consumer protection for financial products into one agency. What I dislike, though, is having an agency that essentially has the power of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats writing law as opposed to enforcing law.”

Meanwhile, Noreika’s criticism of the bureau has largely focused on its rulemaking process and research to develop the arbitration rule. His term as acting director of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ended when Joseph Otting assumed the role Nov. 27.

Zywicki, another potential nominee, is the author of research publications including, “The CFPB's Arbitration Study: A Summary and Critique,” “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Return of Paternalistic Command-and-Control Regulation,” “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Savior or Menace?” and several others.

According to Politico, an announcement on the nominee could occur by early January. The law dictates that Mulvaney can serve as interim CFPB director for a maximum of 210 days until a permanent director is nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, according to USA Today.

Mulvaney, who also serves as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, already imposed a 30-day moratorium on regulations and a hiring freeze Nov. 27. Politico is reporting that significant regulations, including the recent rulemaking for the small-dollar lending market, could be revisited, changed or delayed.

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