Richard Cordray, one of the few remaining Obama-era banking regulators, said on Wednesday that he plans to step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the end of the month, clearing the way for President Trump to remake a watchdog agency loathed by Republicans and Wall Street.
Cordray’s turbulent six-year tenure at the 1,600-person agency was marked by aggressive efforts to rein in banks, payday lenders and debt collectors that often drew protests from the business community.
His frequent clashes with conservatives turned Cordray, an otherwise ordinary Washington bureaucrat from Ohio, into a favorite of Democrats and consumer groups and a villain to Republicans and the financial industry.
A federal judge once said that Cordray had “more unilateral authority than any other officer in any of the three branches of the U.S. government, other than the president.”
Cordray did not explain the timing of his decision, but it clears the way for him to potentially run for Ohio governor.
It also comes just a month after the CFPB suffered a major rebuke from Republicans in Congress who took the unusual step of blocking an agency rule that would have allowed consumers to sue their banks for the first time.