Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), announced today that he plans to step down from that post by the end of the month. Cordray’s term was otherwise set to expire in July of 2018.

Cordray, who was appointed by the Obama Administration after the CFPB was created in 2011, issued his announcement in an e-mail to CFPB staff. “Together, we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people’s lives,” Cordray said in the e-mail. “I trust that new leadership will see that value also and work to preserve it – perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country.”

Cordray’s resignation paves the way for the Trump Administration to install its own director, whose vision for the CFPB likely will differ significantly from Cordray’s.

Republican leaders cheered Cordray’s departure, with House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, saying: “We are long overdue for new leadership at the CFPB, a rogue agency that has done more to hurt consumers than help them. The extreme overregulation it imposes on our economy leads to higher costs and less access to financial products and services, particularly for Americans with lower and middle incomes.”

Although Cordray’s e-mail did not provide a reason for his departure, pundits have speculated that Cordray’s resignation was triggered by a plan to run for governor of his home state of Ohio.

If Cordray’s departure results in a pull-back by the CFPB in its regulatory activities, this may prompt the acceleration of efforts by other regulators, including State Attorneys General (as reported here), to fill in the perceived regulatory gap.

We will continue to monitor the situation at the CFPB as it develops.