WASHINGTON — Nearly a year after taking office, President Trump stands on the precipice of having stocked the leadership positions of each of the federal banking regulators with his nominees, a first step toward enacting the deregulatory agenda he promised during his campaign.
The unexpected — if not wholly unanticipated — departure
of former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray over Thanksgiving weekend spurred Trump to install the White House Office of Management and Budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as the consumer bureau's acting director. After a brief power struggle
between Mulvaney and Cordray’s hand-picked successor, Leandra English, a judge declared
that Mulvaney was the rightful head of the agency until a permanent nominee was installed.
The following week, Trump tapped
Fifth Third Bank’s chief legal officer Jelena McWilliams to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., ending months of speculation about who the president’s choice would be to succeed Martin Gruenberg, whose term expired last month.
Unlike most executive departments, the regulators who oversee the financial system tend to be independent executive agencies. That means that a new president has a more limited ability to replace those leaders upon assuming office, but instead will only gradually introduce their own choices over the course of the first 12-18 months.
The Trump administration did not appear to be in a hurry, however, taking a rather deliberative approach
to filling vacancies as compared to earlier administrations. But now that the cast of agency heads has been selected, what will each of the new leaders bring to their new offices, and how will they work together?