Trump Seems Uninformed During Discussions of CFPB, Firing Cordray with Community Bankers

by Jeff Sovern

The American Banker article is headlined Trump discussed Cordray's future in community bank meeting (free content).  Excerpt:

At one point, Trump expressed to the group that many had urged him to oust Cordray, but the president was not sure it was worth the political backlash. But Trump was apparently under the impression that Cordray’s term would be up soon.

Informed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who attended the meeting along with Gary Cohn, the White House’s chief economic adviser, that Cordray’s term lasts until July 2018, Trump asked whether anything could be done before then. Cohn said he and Mnuchin were working on the issue, while raising the prospect that Cordray could voluntarily depart to run for office in his home state of Ohio, according to participants in the meeting.

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They also discussed the structure of the CFPB. Republicans have sought to replace the single director with a five-member board, though their enthusiasm for that idea has waned after Trump won the election.

“Both Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Mr. Cohn were very engaged with CFPB,” [ValueBank Texas CEO Scott] Heitkamp said. “We talked about a five-member board and [Trump] was very engaged with trying to understand” the benefits of a five-member board.

And WSJ reports:

[A] community banker complained to Mr. Trump about a mortgage regulation adopted after the financial crisis.

Mr. Trump turned to his top economic aides, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, according to people who attended the meeting.

 “Can I take care of that with an executive order?” Mr. Trump asked.

“No, Mr. President,” Mr. Mnuchin replied, explaining that the so-called qualified mortgage rules are written by independent regulators.

If the reports are accurate, Trump doesn't seem well-informed about these matters.

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