Who will run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau next?
A number of candidates have been mentioned in media reports, and at the American Financial Services Association's annual Vehicle Finance Conference last month, an AFSA leader named the candidates he thought were likely on the short list.
A bipartisan House bill introduced last month would change the CFPB's single-director leadership structure into a bipartisan commission if it becomes law, but in the meantime, the single-director leadership structure stands.
When Richard Cordray resigned as CFPB director in November, saying he planned to run for governor of Ohio, he named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as acting director. But President Donald Trump tapped Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney for the acting CFPB director role. In late November, a federal judge rejected English's request to temporarily block Mulvaney from the position. Mulvaney has continued to lead the bureau for now.
A handful of names have been tossed around to fill the director post permanently. At the AFSA conference in Las Vegas, Bill Himpler, executive vice president of AFSA, gave an audience of lenders his best guesses:
- Mark McWatters, chairman of the National Credit Union Administration board.
- Todd Zywicki, law professor at George Mason University.
- Mark Calabria, chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence.
- Jonathan Dever, Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
"If somebody has the inside track, it's probably Mark McWatters," Himpler said. McWatters has worked for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and an outspoken CFPB critic. He has also worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who supports and helped create the CFPB.
Of the four candidates listed, McWatters also has the best sense of consumers' needs, Himpler said.
Besides who, of course, is the question of when. Himpler's hunch may prove true, but it is unclear when the administration will name a full-time director for the bureau.