What CFPB gained, lost in constitutionality case

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Although it lost its constitutionality argument, the court upheld the panel's opinion for PHH on the RESPA issue. PHH Mortgage Corp. had been fined $109 million by the bureau for alleged misconduct.

Mulvaney, who is also White House budget director and a long-time critic of the CFPB, has announced efforts to overhaul the bureau to suit Republican preferences, and once described the agency as a "sick, sad joke" which restrains free commerce.

"Congress's decision to provide the CFPB director a degree of insulation reflects its permissible judgment that civil regulation of consumer financial protection should be kept one step removed from political winds and presidential will", US Circuit Judge Cornelia Pillard wrote for the majority.

The court cited examples of other federal financial regulators that Congress deemed to be independent, including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Replacing an earlier ruling that the CFPB's structure was unconstitutional and that there were insufficient checks on the power of its director, the Washington-based appeals court concluded that Congress meant to protect the agency from the ebb and flow of politics and that its director should only be dismissed for cause.

But the decision, while affirming the CFPB's independence, did not let the agency off the hook entirely.

The court said the CFPB had violated due process by not providing PHH with notice of its new interpretation of Respa.

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The CFPB, an independent banking regulator that has taken on Wall Street abuses and protected American consumers, is one of the most vital tools created to get our economy back on track. English is now contesting that appointment in court. Wall Street interests, the banking and consumer finance industries and Republicans in Congress have fiercely opposed and criticized the agency, accusing it of overreaching in its regulation. "At least for the time being, I see no Democratic initiative to change the structure of the CFPB". Having a single person in charge of the CFPB is different from the pattern atop many other federal regulatory agencies of a multi-member commission, the ruling said, "but we can not downplay the fact that Congress also required extensive coordination, expert consultation and oversight of the director".

Full DC Circuit upholds structure of Consumer...

His resignation sparked a fight over who would serve as acting director until a permanent replacement is nominated by President Donald Trump and then confirmed by the Senate.

The court said Cordray erred in redefining the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to take action against PHH, an issue that had been largely overlooked by the case's more controversial constitutional issues.

Pillard's ruling deals a blow to the Trump administration, whose Justice Department met the decision with noted disappointment today. Trump's pick, Mick Mulvaney, prevailed in the end.

A district court judge denied granting English a temporary restraining order in December against Mulvaney, and she appealed. The D.C. Circuit ruling was disappointing but not surprising, Shapiro says, because the court has a history of being deferential to the government's case.

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