D.C. Circuit Rules CFPB’s Structure Constitutional but Vacates $109 Million Enforcement Award

February 14, 2018

On January 31, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a federal statute curbing the President’s power to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), a financial regulator with the mandate to enforce federal consumer protection laws.

In a 7-3 en banc decision, the Court held that it is constitutional for the CFPB director to be appointed to a five-year term, removable by the President only for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”  At the same time, however, the Court affirmed the vacature of a $109 million sanction levied by former CFPB director Richard Cordray against PHH Corporation (“PHH”), a large mortgage lender.

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