Financial Markets

Mulvaney Tells CFPB Staff to ‘Disregard’ Leandra English

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Monday instructed agency staff to disregard directions from Leandra English, who was named acting director by the former head of the agency, Reuters reports.

Axios reports Mulvaney showed up to work with donuts for the staff.

Trump Preps for Showdown Over Consumer Agency

“The White House is preparing for a showdown over who will be the next leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a high-stakes battle that could end up in court and slow President Trump’s effort to roll back banking industry regulations,” the Washington Post reports.

“Leadership of the agency, which Trump called a ‘total disaster’ on Twitter Saturday, was thrown into doubt on an otherwise slow holiday weekend after the White House and the CFPB’s outgoing head both named acting directors to head the regulatory watchdog. On Friday, Trump named Mick Mulvaney, a longtime critic of the agency and the Office of Management and Budget director, while Richard Cordray promoted his chief of staff, Leandra English, to deputy director and said she would become acting director.“

Cordray Blocks Trump from Nominating His Successor

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray “appointed the agency’s chief of staff, Leandra English, as the CFPB’s deputy director, establishing her as his successor when he steps down at the end of the day,” Politico reports.

“The move appears designed to thwart any move by President Donald Trump to name another temporary official to head the controversial agency… Trump will likely now have to nominate someone who must be confirmed by the Senate before he can oust English.”

Trump Considers Mulvaney for Consumer Watchdog Post

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who once called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “a sad, sick joke,” is being considered for a temporary role as interim director of the consumer watchdog after Richard Cordray steps down later this month, Bloomberg reports.

“Mulvaney would be expected to name someone else or a team of people to run the CFPB on a day-to-day-basis so he could keep his focus on OMB, said one of the people.”

Cordray Will Step Down from Consumer Post

“Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said that he would leave the agency this month,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Cordray, a Democrat and a holdover from the Obama administration, was appointed to a five-year term that was to end in July 2018. He was widely expected to step down before then to run for governor in Ohio, his home state.”

The Rise and Fall of Gary Cohn’s Fed Dreams

Politico: “The former Goldman Sachs president, now Trump’s top economic adviser, was a front-runner for the Fed job until August, when he publicly broke with the president over his handling of fatal neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

“As recently as last month, the two still appeared at odds. Guests at a black-tie gala in Washington in mid-October honoring First Lady Melania Trump were treated to an awkward display between the two, as the president stared straight ahead and continued to make small talk with others while Cohn was trying talk to him, said an attendee.”

“Cohn is telling people he never really wanted the Fed job anyway. The Fed chairmanship, though immensely powerful, can be a dreary slog through endless meetings deciphering esoteric economic signals followed by tedious trips to the Hill to answer questions from grandstanding members of Congress.”

Trump Will Pick Powell to Lead the Fed

President Trump is expected to name Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet L. Yellen, the current chairwoman whose term expires early next year, the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Powell, a Fed governor since 2012, is a Republican with deep roots in the party’s establishment and in the financial industry. He has steadily supported the Fed’s current approach to monetary policy and financial regulation, creating an expectation that he would bring continuity to the role.”

Trump Tries to Generate Suspense Over Fed Pick

President Trump says on Instagram video that he’ll announce his pick for Federal Reserve chair next week:

People are anxiously awaiting my decision as to who the next head of the Fed next week. I will be announcing it sometime next week. It will be a person who hopefully will do a fantastic job. I have somebody very specific in mind. I think everybody will be very impressed.

Trump Makes Spectacle of Fed Pick

“President Trump delights in making spectacles out of personnel decisions. He conducted cabinet interviews at his New Jersey golf club, inviting members to gather and gawk. He summoned both finalists for a Supreme Court seat to the White House on the day of the announcement. And now he is conducting the most dramatic and drawn-out search for a Federal Reserve chairman in the long history of the stolid institution,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump is very publicly deliberating between two candidates with strikingly different views about the practice and purpose of monetary policy: Jerome H. Powell, a Fed governor who has voted in favor of every Fed policy decision since 2012, and John B. Taylor, a Stanford economist who is among the Fed’s most vocal critics.”

Politico: Trump leaning toward Powell for Fed chairman.

Pence Vote Strikes Down Consumer Rule

“Senate Republicans voted to strike down a sweeping new rule that would have allowed millions of Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions,” the New York Times reports.

“The overturning of the rule, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-to-50 tie, will further loosen regulation of Wall Street as the Trump administration and Republicans move to roll back Obama-era policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. By defeating the rule, Republicans are dismantling a major effort of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog created by Congress in the aftermath of the mortgage mess.”

Trump Claims Stock Market Rise Can Erase National Debt

President Trump “suggested that a soaring stock market might be ‘in a sense’ reducing the national debt, a statement that is not true, in any sense,” the New York Times reports.

Said Trump: “The country — we took it over and owed over $20 trillion. As you know the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked up $5.2 trillion just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value.”

He added: “So you could say, in one sense, we’re really increasing values. And maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt.”

White House Walks Back Trump Comments

President Trump casually told Fox News last night that the United States “would have to wipe out $75 billion in debt owed by Puerto Rico to bondholders around the world,” Politico reports.

“Wall Street promptly freaked out, sending Puerto Rican bonds into a tailspin and leading the White House to move swiftly to clean up Trump’s seemingly offhand remarks.”