President Donald Trump promised fewer regulations for business in general, and banks specifically — and events over the past week have pushed that intention closer to reality.
The president didn't have a major direct hand in any of the moves, but each nudges the business climate closer to the environment he envisioned while campaigning. Consider the following:
- Richard Cordray announced he is leaving as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, opening up a change in leadership and management for an agency Trump loathes, with the exit of a director many thought Trump would one day fire;
- Joseph Otting was confirmed as the new comptroller of the currency, the overseer of the big Wall Street banks, in a move seen as friendly to the financial industry.
- A Senate panel has agreed to key modifications to the Dodd-Frank reforms, most specifically raising the asset threshold for more intense regulations and easing rules for smaller banks.
Those three moves come on top of the president's recent nomination of Jerome Powell to head the Federal Reserve. Also, the Fed's newest member, Trump appointee Randal Quarles, advocated in his first public remarks that the central bank take a top-to-bottom look at regulation, supervision and enforcement.
In all, it's been a definite lurch forward for one of the three prongs in Trump economic's plan of lower taxes, less regulation and more infrastructure spending.
"It's hard to know what the effects of many of these things will be," said Doug Landy, a financial services regulation attorney and partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York. However, "they're moving certainly in the direction they said they would."