Director Richard Cordray's possible departure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is likely to result in incremental change rather than a big shake-up immediately, consumer-finance attorneys say.

Expect less "rulemaking by enforcement" and a slowdown or even freeze on formal rulemaking. The agency is likely to focus on blatant fraud rather than push the envelope on its jurisdiction and rely more on supervisory referrals with fewer actions against certain non-banks.

"There will be significant changes, but they will be more incremental than monumental," said Alan Kaplinsky, a partner at Ballard Spahr. "After the new director is there for a year or so, that’s when I would expect that people might notice more readily what has actually changed."

Such changes fall far short of the wholesale restructuring—or outright elimination of the agency—sought by House Republicans, whose overhaul legislation is unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate this year.

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