A Texas Republican under consideration to lead the CFPB met with President-elect Donald Trump last week, Trump Spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed on a Jan. 12 call with reporters, according to The Huffington Post. Former U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a long-time critic of the bureau and a proponent of repealing the Durbin Amendment and other aspects of Dodd-Frank, could please financial services providers, while putting retailers on edge.
Neugebauer, who recently retired from the House of Representative, met with Trump on Jan. 11 in New York. Neugebauer and his fellow Republicans have long viewed the CFPB, formed in 2010, as coming down too hard on small businesses and otherwise having too much power. In March 2015, then-Rep. Neugebauer introduced the Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2015 (HR 1266), which called for replacing the CFPB’s director with a five-member commission, which he believed would stabilize the bureau and make it less subject to political whims. He also introduced legislation to repeal the Durbin Amendment, which he said led banks to do away with free checking.
Neugebauer also was a vocal critic of Operation Choke Point and joined several other leaders of the House Financial Services Committee to call for the CFPB, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other regulators to disavow their involvement with this and similar initiatives. The DOJ’s Operation Choke Point was criticized for working with regulators to pressure banks to end relationships with payday lenders and other types of “high-risk” money services businesses.
A three-judge panel ruling in federal appeals court in October has paved the way for Trump to make at-will leadership changes at the bureau. Unless that ruling is overturned by the Supreme Court or reconsidered by the lower court that decided it—the CFPB in November petitioned for the full bench of that court to rehear the case—Trump will be able to remove Cordray at any time for any reason.
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