The strangest thing about the man who's expected to be named the next leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that he has long opposed the agency's work. This is the agency established in the wake of the 2008 market crash, whose regulatory reach touches countless financial products that Americans use every day—student loans, payday loans, credit cards, mortgages, and so on.
Earlier this week, the bureau’s current leader, Richard Cordray, announced he will step down by the end of November, likely to pursue the governor’s office in Ohio. As early as Friday, according to some reports, President Trump could announce his temporary replacement. The frontrunner for the job is said to be Mick Mulvaney, the current head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)—a man who once called the CFPB “a sick, sad joke.”
If appointed, Mulvaney will have the power to set the agenda for the Bureau’s work, but he likely won’t direct day-to-day operations. Because he currently holds a Senate-confirmed position, he’s eligible to serve as the acting head of the Bureau under the Vacancies Act. He can also simultaneously maintain his current position at the OMB, where he has proven himself a consummate supporter of Trump’s policies, particularly those that seek to roll back regulations. Additionally, Mulvaney has supported federal hiring freezes and workforce reduction via attrition in the name of savings. Although Mulvaney couldn’t unilaterally shutter the CFBP, or its operations, overnight, he could certainly make the agency weaker, and direct its efforts away from the sorts of aggressive actions that have been its hallmark.