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Supreme Court’s CFPB Ruling to Turn Agency Into a Political Football, Finance Industry Watchers Say

The Supreme Court’s ruling Monday allowing the president to remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s director for any reason won’t immediately change anything at the agency, given that it’s led by President Donald Trump’s appointee, but it has the potential to expose the agency to years of political squabbling over its mission, consumer advocates and financial industry watchers said.

Previously, the director of the CFPB could only be removed by the president for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office,” but the court’s 5-4 ruling now allows the president to fire the head of the agency at will.

President Donald Trump is unlikely to remove CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, his appointee who has largely flown under the radar, but Monday’s ruling means the future of the agency hinges even more on the 2020 presidential election and every presidential election after that. Will Corbett, litigation director at the Center for Responsible Lending, said that could hurt the CFPB’s effectiveness, since many rulemakings and investigations that lead to enforcement actions can take years to research and implement.

“It’s a bad day for consumers,” Corbett said. “The long-term concern I have is that the director will not be able to do their job without […]

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