The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau celebrates its first anniversary on July 21, 2012. A year ago, President Obama announced that Richard Cordray had been nominated to head the body. Its goal, he said, was to look out “for ordinary people in our financial system.”

The regulatory body, although scrutinized in the political arena, has made considerable progress in implementing its agenda.

Alan Kaplinsky, leader of Ballard Spahr's consumer financial services practice, agrees. "Their impact has been absolutely extraordinary," he said.

Recently, Capital One settled charges, brought by the CFPB, that it had deceptively marketed cards. Capital One agreed to pay $210 million to settle.

Commenting on the case, Mr. Kaplinsky said it’s "just the tip of the iceberg....There are dozens of ongoing investigations."

"We are going to see a level of enforcement activity that's daunting, to say the least," he said, en route to a meeting at the CFPB to discuss one such investigation. "They are investigating what seems like the entire consumer financial industry, and the investigations are sweeping. They're asking for every shred of paper, every piece of electronic data ever generated."