For months, it was a question foremost on the minds of lawyers inside and outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Would the agency's first director, Richard Cordray, resign early or stick it out through the July 2018 end of his five-year term?

On Wednesday, the answer arrived. Cordray, in an email to staff, said he would step down by the end of this month, a move that will give President Donald Trump the chance to install a new leader.

With the Obama-era agency about to move fully into the era of Trump, Cordray used his internal announcement to reflect on the bureau's accomplishments and address the CFPB’s future. "I will always be immensely proud of you and what you have done," Cordray wrote in the email, after listing the agency's accomplishments during his tenure.

Of Cordray's departure, Ballard Spahr partner Alan Kaplinsky, co-leader of the firm’s consumer financial services group, said: "I'm delighted with his resignation and my expectation now is that a successor will be appointed who will listen much more carefully to the concerns of industry. My biggest concern right now is who will be the acting director until the Senate confirms Trump’s nominee. There is a cloud of uncertainty over that."

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