Mulvaney Imposes 30-Day Freeze on New Regs, Guidance at CFPB

In his first day as acting director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney — who is also the director of the Office of Management and Budget — today imposed a 30-day freeze on new regulations, guidance, hiring and civil money penalties at the consumer finance regulator.

Mulvaney was appointed by President Trump following Richard Cordray’s abrupt resignation as director on Friday. Cordray’s deputy director, Leandra English, sued Mulvaney and Trump on the theory that the Dodd-Frank Act makes her the bureau’s acting director during a vacancy. A federal judge heard arguments in the case for a temporary restraining order late this afternoon but did not issue a ruling.

The White House took the position that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act applies, allowing the president to name a currently serving Senate-confirmed official as acting director — a conclusion reached by both the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and the CFPB’s own general counsel, who over the weekend “advise[d]all Bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB.”

The American Bankers Association sent a memo to members earlier today outlining the situation and the legal questions at the heart of the conflict, and ABA staff continue to monitor the CFPB’s leadership transition closely.