Panel on Consumer Protection: The Future under the Trump Administration

By: Charity Barger*| Staff Writer

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The last panel of the Symposium focused on consumer protection.  The panelists spoke generally about consumer protection, referring often to Dodd Frank, an Act responsible for creating more stringent rules on consumer protection. The panelists also spoke about the role of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and pointed out that the CFPB has three powers: rulemaking, supervision, and enforcement.  The Bureau was described as being staffed by highly professional and energetic people, who are very committed to consumer protection.

The panel discussed what is ahead for the CFPB under the new administration.  First, the panel commented on whether a complete reorganization of the CFPB was inevitable, including the dismissal of the current director. One panelist seemed to believe that a change in leadership would not occur anytime soon, even though Congress is pushing for a new director.  There are many important issues on Trump’s agenda at the moment, and reorganizing the CFPB will most likely take a backseat to bigger issues.  However, Congress has already begun to chip away at the authority of the CFPB by employing the  Congressional Review Act to block implementation of certain agency rules (a current example is consumer protection on prepaid debit cards).

An interesting question was presented during the panel as to whether or not President Trump has the authority to fire the head of the CFPB since the CFPB is an independent agency?  Additionally, as an independent agency, does the executive order requiring one regulation in and two regulations out pertain to the CFPB?  It is safe to say that there are a lot of unanswered questions as this nation moves forward under the new administration, even for lawyers who work with consumer protections.

Charity Barger is a second year law student.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in pre-law, from the University of West Florida.  After law school, Charity hopes to work in corporate law, specializing in Mergers & Acquisitions.